Thursday, March 30, 2006

My New "Airport" Shoes

My new Bass Weejun tassel kiltie loafers.

Or, as I can call them, my new "airport" shoes.

Let me 'splain.

The world being what it is today, getting through airport security anymore is a major pain -- laptop out, shoes off, coat and jacket off, dump them in the bins, send them through the x-ray machine, and walk through the magic portal.

Disrobing and divesting like this while in the security line is inconvenient, and making it worse is dealing with tie shoes. "Darn, freakin' knot..." as you hop on one foot trying to get a shoe off.

Then, after you've made it through, you have to go through the reverse process of re-intregrating yourself -- with no good facilities for doing this.

At least, as I observed while flying out to California a couple weeks ago.

Was wearing my Rockport Dressport oxfords, which are just darn comfortable. But realized I need a tie-less shoe for such trips.

Found the Weejuns on Shoebuy -- love that site because: a. I hate clothes shopping; b. they always have my size; c. their prices are good and they ship for free (return shipping too!); and d. I hate clothes shopping.

Ordered, shipped and on my feet in a week.

Comfy and darn stylish. Can't wait unitl the next time I fly -- just slip them off and slip them back on.

Doing my part in the war on terror by keeping the lines moving at airport security.

I guess adapting to a post-9/11 world isn't so tough after all.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Immigration Reform: Good ideas, bad ideas

Immigration reform finally takes a front seat on the Hill this week, Reuters reports. President Bush has been attempting to get this rolling for several years, but Congress has replied with a yawn until now.

Some good ideas and some bad ideas under consideration, with some of the worst coming from Republicans. Here's a quick and concise review:

Amnesty for the illegal aliens now in the U.S -- Good idea. They're here. Roughly 12 million of them. And they ain't leaving. And we can't make them go. Deal with it -- we have to contend with situation as it is, not as we would like it to be. If they can prove they're employed and law abiding, they get to stay and can apply for citizenship. Psst -- they'll also pay their share of taxes this way too.

Establishment of a guest worker program -- Good idea. Our economy has proven that we need these workers and they want the work. Better to do it in a controlled way, where we know who's coming and going and where worker conditions and wages are held to some standard. Everyone wins.

Future illegal aliens treated as felons and deported -- Good idea. Carrot and stick, baby. If there's a reasonable, right way to do it, then those who do it the wrong way are obviously up to no good. Throw them in jail or throw them out.

Employers hiring illegal aliens face steeper penalties -- Good idea. Bigger fines. Jail time. More stick to go with the carrot. Puts the responsibility for the problem not just on the aliens but also on those who exploit them.

Build a fence along the Mexican border to keep illegals out -- Bad idea. Stupid idea. I mean really, really dumb idea. What, we're taking our defensive tactics from the French now? The Maginot Line didn't keep the Germans out of France in 1940 and a fence won't keep the Mexicans out of the U.S. now

Better to invest that $2.2 billion of fence money in the Mexican economy -- having a stronger trading partner on our southern flank is the best defense against unwanted immigration. If there are more jobs back home, perhaps fewer Mexicans will need to come to the U.S. for employment.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Peace Hostages Freed

Allied forces freed three peace activists held hostage by terrorists for months in Iraq, Reuters reports.

The two Canadians and one Briton immediately released the following statement:

"We totally get it now -- the people who held us can't be reasoned with. We believed it was possible, right up to the moment we watched helplessly as they tortured and then murdered our friend, Tom Fox.

"We still believe in peace and justice, and will always attempt to pursue those ideals first. But we now understand that some people deliberately choose to ally themselves with evil, and that the only way that evil can be stopped is through confrontation.

"So we are grateful to the British, American and Iraqi soldiers who decided to confront evil today and rescue us, at personal risk to themselves.

"And if we could ask just one more favor of them it would be that they loan us a couple M4 rifles, so we can go back and deal with those who held us hostage and murdered our friend.

"We must stop them before they hurt anyone else."

Okay, I totally made that up.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I don't need your civil war

Never been much of a GNR fan, but if the song lyrics fit...

Iraq is on the brink of civil war.

We know this because the media and antiwar activists have been telling us so.

For three years now.

Every time there's a major conflagration, like the recent Samarra Shrine bombing, they insist that this is it -- the final straw. It's all gonna come crashing down now.

You can practically see them jumping up and down, clapping their hands and saying "goody good gumdrops."

And when order is restored and civil war doesn't erupt, you can almost seem them slump with disappointment.


The conflict in Iraq is far from over, and much remains to be done to establish a democracy and reduce sectarian division.

There's certainly no guarantee, and civil war could erupt.

But I'd hardly call it the moral high ground to be rooting for the bad guys and hoping for the worst.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It takes a Village Voice editor to fabricate a story...

More journalists behaving badly.

Acting EIC Doug Simmons leaves the Village Voice after admitting to fabricating parts of a story, the Associated Press reports. The AP story says the VV slid the announcement out on its Web site, with a brief note literally scrawled on napkin. No reason given -- just, he's gone.

Gotta love the NY Post -- only they would have the guts to run this headline: Boss At Voice Axed for Lax Facts.


Over at trade pub Editor & Publisher they're apparently trying to maintain some objectivity and refuse to jump to conclusions, headlining it: Village Voice Editor Departs -- Partly Fabricated Story The Cause?

Uh, duh.

Reporters are human. They make mistakes. But one of the unpardonable sins in journalism is fabricating a story or any part of it. The VV ought to fess up, take its lumps and work to ensure it doesn't happen again.

It's only their credbility on the line here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Price of Appeasement

Two events today illustrate what happens when evil is not confronted.

Former Serb Dictator Slobodon Milosevic, the "Butcher of the Balkans," was found dead in his cell at the Hague, where he was imprisoned on war crimes charges for his role in the ethnic cleansing that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

As the Serb leader, he was responsible for the death of Croats, Muslims and other non-Serbs. Rape, mutilation and murder were methods used routinely by his forces.

The world was slow to respond, and before he was removed from power more than 200,000 men, women and children had been killed.

Also found dead today was American peace activist Tom Fox, who was kidnapped with three companions last November in Iraq.

Fox's body was found in a Baghdad street, a bullet in the head and marks of torture on his body.

He was a member of the Quakers, and as such voiced opposition to any armed action again terrorists or others commiting violence. No doubt a moral and righteous man, he failed to understand that some people are so blinded by hatred and evil that they are beyond reason, and there are times when such evil must be confronted in order to protect the innocent.

He paid for that mistake with his life.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Blogging in San Diego this week...

...or I should say, not blogging much from here. Busy, at a work event -- working while others play. Prisoner in paradise, essentially.

But there's been a little fun tucked in around the work.

We've had a pretty cool comedian, Greg Hahn, working with us -- I actually fed him a joke that worked really well. So much for my wife's contention that I'm not funny.

Also, an extraordinary acrobatic team named Rizoma from the Ukraine (sorry, no link) performing here. I have to take Advil just from watching these guys.

Saw Wynton Marsalis and band perform this morning, and got to meet the man afterward. Extraordinary.

And tonight is a concert by Kenny Loggins and band.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New York Times Casablanca Shocker

The New York Times today expressing shock -- SHOCK -- that PR professionals are approaching bloggers directly to influence what they post. Bloggers are even picking up things written by flacks and reprinting full sentences verbatim without attribution to the source, the Times says.

Frankly, I haven't seen acting like this since that scene from Casablanca when Police Inspector Renaud (Claude Rains) raids Rick's cafe, announcing that he's shocked -- SHOCKED -- to learn that gambling is going on there. Of course, the Maitre'd immediately comes over and hands Renaud his winnings for the evening.

Hey, New York Times, gotta another great news flash for you -- "Earth Still Round."
No? How about "Sky Not Falling."

This is not new. This has been going on in the mainstream media as long as it has existed, with PR pros pitching reporters daily -- even at the New York Times. That flacks are trying to do the same with bloggers is just a natural development, as bloggers build their audiences of readers (usually at the expense of conventional media, which may be what this is really all about).

As to bloggers freely using donated copy from flacks, that is a standard practice with conventional media as well -- reporters do it every day, even at the Times.

The dirty little secret among reporters is that they don't mind getting rolled as long as they either agree with what's being pitched or the story is juicy enough. And if someone hands you ready-made copy perfect for printing, so much the better. No work or critical thought required.

And I think it's a little inappropriate for the Times to be claiming the high moral ground here, while still recovering from a plague of bad reporting and even fabricated stories by its reporters.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Parents will get this...

Reflections on parenting and transition over at Out of Fellowship.

As Warren Zevon said just before his death: enjoy every sandwich.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Difference

“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion” -- Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Came across this today. I think it perfectly describes the issue around opposition to the war in Iraq -- too much of it falls in the second category, not the first.

You can tell by the way those engaging in it continue to howl the same moronic lies.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

India by the numbers

Survey SAYS!...Bush polls better in India than in the U.S.

A Pew Global Attitudes survey taken ahead of the president's trip to the subcontinent shows that 71 percent of Indians are favorable toward the U.S. and the president himself is popular with 64 percent of the population.

But don't look for those numbers in the American press -- you'll have a hard time finding them. They're too busy covering the roughly one thousand Muslim extremists and Communists are who are protesting the state trip.

I wonder why the Indians like him (and us) so much. Hard to say, but maybe it's because they've been dealing with Muslim extremists for decades and understand how important it is to stand up to them.