Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Berger files

Former national security advisor Sandy Berger should appear in court tomorrow and plead guilty to swiping classified documents from the national archives, a misdemeanor.
He [Berger] said he was reviewing the materials to help determine which Clinton administration documents to provide to the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Berger and his lawyer, Lanny Breuer, have said Berger knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket and pants and inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio. He returned most of the documents, but some still are missing.
The Clinton administration seemed to have problems with disappearing documents.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Coulter on the Kaw

Jimbobb2 over at The Shaggy Dog has the skinny (or at least a couple of great witticisms) about Ann Coulter's appearance at my alma mater, The University of Kansas. (KU, in Lawrence, is on the banks of the Kansas River, also known as the Kaw). Thanks, Jim.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Heidi Stevens at the Chicago Tribune reports a shift in hairstyles and asks these important questions:
Are mullets mounting a comeback? And is it too early to get Congress involved?
So maybe there actually is something productive congress can do.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Our shiny new recycling cart

Imagine how thrilled I was to come home to a shiny new, gigantic recycling cart. The beautiful grey container replaces a couple of dinky little bins and will hold our weekly refuse of bottles, cans and newspapers. It joins its handsome cousins, the brown cart for trash, the green monster for yard debris and the cute baby kitchen pail for food scraps. Garage space was at a premium before our new arrival so now we're not quite sure where we'll be keeping the cars.

MGM vs. Grokster

The U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing arguments tomorrow in MGM vs. Grokster, which makes peer to peer software that lets internet users share songs and other files. It's seen as the most important copyright case since the 1984 Sony Betamax decision. The New York Times takes a surprisingly capitalistic position on it.
The battle over online music piracy is usually presented as David versus Goliath: the poor student in his dorm hunted down by a music conglomerate. It is easy, in that matchup, to side with the student. But when the Supreme Court takes up the issue this week, we hope it considers another party to the dispute: individual creators of music, movies and books, who need to keep getting paid if they are going to keep creating. If their work is suddenly made "free," all of society is likely to suffer.
The Betamax case favored Sony, allowing the company to sell its home video recorders over Hollywood's objections that the technology would be used to illegally copy movies.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Guilty of something

Go ahead. Try to guess who said this before going to the SF Chronicle for the whole story.
"Elizabeth Taylor used to feed me, to hand-feed me, at times."


Thomas L. Friedman at the NY Times believes President Bush is missing an opportunity to implement a "geo-green strategy" to avert an energy crisis. In today's editorial he says we need only do three things:
We need a gasoline tax that would keep pump prices fixed at $4 a gallon, even if crude oil prices go down.
We need to start building nuclear power plants again.
And we need some kind of carbon tax that would move more industries from coal to wind, hydro and solar power, or other, cleaner fuels.
Friedman explains that higher taxes will decrease consumption and raise revenue on gasoline and coal. He also argues that higher gas prices would change America's car-buying habits to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

First of all, excise taxes are not effective at reducing consumption, just look at alcohol and cigarettes. Secondly, it's difficult to reduce consumption and increase tax revenue on a commodity simultaneously. Thirdly, do liberals have any answers that don't include new taxes?

I don't have a problem with building new nuclear power plants, but I don't look forward to Bay Area liberals chaining themselves together and blocking traffic to protest them.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Dumb jocks

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Jesse Jackson is blaming NCAA schools for lousy graduation rates for student athletes, particularly black basketball players.
Jackson attributed African-American athletes' lower graduation rate to inadequate college preparation in many inner-city high schools. He also blamed coaches and schools for their single-minded emphasis on athletics over academics.
The story does not say whether Jackson places any responsibility for poor academic performance on the student athletes themselves or their parents.

Fox Blocker

I first came across this story over at Shane Raynor but you can bet it's going to make its way around pretty quickly.
It's not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News. The creator of the "Fox Blocker" contends the channel is not news at all. Kimery figures he's sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets, since its August debut.
What can you say about the folks who would buy this thing?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Circling for a space

One of the constant challenges of living in the Bay Area is parking.

The financial markets and my office were all closed for Good Friday, giving me a great opportunity for a mid-morning workout. When I got to the gym it was apparent that most folks weren't as fortunate as me, they were working. That means downtown Oakland, where my gym is, was hopping. Nowhere to park. I drove around the same four-block area for twenty minutes without any luck and finally caved and parked in the Kaiser Center Garage. Twelve bucks for 79 minutes! I suppose it's cheaper than a heart attack.

I heard once that there are something like 5 million cars in the Bay Area and only 3 million places to park them. That means that, at any given moment, there have to be 2 million cars moving. My guess is that most of them are just circling, looking for a space.

Some good from this?

The legal and ethical struggle over Terri Schiavo is the third prominent right-to-die case in the last thirty years. Nancy Cruzan died in 1990 in Mount Vernon, Missouri after her feeding tube was removed. She had been injured in a car accident in 1983. Karen Ann Quinlan died in 1985 after slipping into a coma at a party in New Jersey.

Each of these three women was under the age of thirty when incapacitated.

If there is anything good to come from these tragedies, it might be the attention brought to the value of planning for unexpected incapacity. Talk to your family and friends about your wishes and write them down.

Download forms for Advance Medical Directives, Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

Most states will require the signatures of two witnesses or a notary on these documents. Get your family and friends together for a big old' signing party.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Strange alliance

Just when I thought the U.S. had become more polarized than ever...
A novel coalition of conservatives and liberals normally at each other's throats over the nature of government and free speech have made common cause to oppose key parts of the USA Patriot Act anti-terrorism law.
The ACLU, The American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform and the Free Congress Foundation have teamed up to challenge the USA Patriot Act saying the law is too intrusive and allows the government to spy on innocent Americans.

Dropout Dispute

A Harvard study, according to the SF Chronicle, says California needs some schoolin' on how to count its dropouts.
In a searing indictment of California's school system, Harvard University researchers say the state graduates only 71 percent of its high school students -- not the 87 percent it claims.
Not surprising. California educators have much more important issues to deal with, like renaming the schools.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terrorists killed

I don't mean to appear giddy that 85 people lost their lives, but isn't it nice to see the good guys win some battles rather than reading about another cowardly terrorist bombing in a shopping district?
An Iraqi official said Wednesday that 85 insurgents were killed on Tuesday when Iraqi commandos, assisted by U.S. air and ground support, staged a midday attack on a suspected training camp in a rural area northwest of the capital.

Self apology

I didn't see the Jayhawks' exhibition of lousy sportsmanship after their stunning loss to 14th seeded Bucknell last Friday. I couldn't stand to watch much of the second half at all. But the Jayhawks, it seems, were a bunch of pretty sore losers.
Only a handful of Kansas players stayed around for the traditional handshake last week when the Bison shocked the No. 3 seed Jayhawks 64-63. It was Kansas' first opening-round loss since 1978.

Self (the Jayhawks head coach) said one problem was that Bucknell's players did not all line up to shake hands after Wayne Simien's desperation jumper at the buzzer came up short. Instead, many of them ran onto the floor in celebration.
When Self called Bucknell coach Pat Flannery to apologize, Flannery said:
"Don't sweat it, we were running around like we won a championship and I can understand guys not waiting while we were celebrating"
For the Jayhawks, the new season starts now and it starts by bidding farewell to the seniors who just couldn't let go of Roy Williams. They didn't play up to their potential and they let a lot of faithful fans down as well as their teammates. Goodbye and good luck. The Self era has begun.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Only in Berkeley

Apparently, being a founding father of the greatest nation on earth doesn't have the same cachet it once did. At least, not in Berkeley.
Parents, students and teachers at Berkeley's Thomas Jefferson Elementary School will soon vote on whether to rename their school because the nation's third president was a slave owner.
Contenders for the new name included Ralph Bunche, the African American diplomat at the United Nations who was the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize; farmworker organizer Cesar Chavez; and Florence McDonald, the late Berkeley city councilwoman, leftist political leader and mother of singer Country Joe McDonald.
But the folks in Berkeley seem to have a dislike for other famous white people as well.
In 1999, Columbus Elementary School in West Berkeley was rebuilt after it was found to be seismically unsafe, and it was renamed Rosa Parks Elementary School - but only after intense debate about whether Cesar Chavez was a better alternative.

Also, James Garfield Middle School was renamed after Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and Abraham Lincoln Elementary School was renamed for Malcolm X in the 1970s.
The city of Berkeley itself is named for Bishop George Berkeley, an Irish philosopher. Hmmm. That's not very P.C. either...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

It ripped the roofs off of dozens of homes and businesses, uprooted trees and had winds of 70-110 mile per hour, but it took San Francisco meteorologists a full day to decide what to call it. Today it became official, it was a tornado, a wimpy one, but nonetheless a tornado.

Legendary automaker dies

John Z. DeLorean,80, died Saturday, March 19th in Summit, New Jersey after a stroke.

DeLorean is best-known for the failed automobile venture that bore his name and which only achieved any lasting notoriety through the film "Back to the Future". But prior to going out on his own, DeLorean had been a remarkable success in Detroit. He rescued the failing Pontiac Division of General Motors by designing the GTO in the late sixties and was also credited with creating the overhead cam engine, concealed windshield wipers, racing stripes and many other automotive innovations.

He was promoted to the Chevrolet division and was expected to take the reins of the auto giant when he resigned his $650,000 a year job in 1973. GM gave him a Cadillac dealership as a retirement gift but DeLorean wanted to build his own car company.

Only 9,000 DeLorean DMC-12s were built in the plant in Northern Ireland. The company was fraught with cost overruns and design problems. The car, which was intended to be everyman's sportscar, wound up selling for $25,000, far beyond the budget of most buyers in 1981. The plant was closed late in 1982 about the same time DeLorean was arrested in Los Angeles with 55 pounds of cocaine. He was acquitted of the drug charges but would face nearly 40 lawsuits stemming from the demise of his car company.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

SF protests

The San Francisco Chronicle publishes this account of anti-war protests in the city yesterday. Waaay down at the end of the story was this:
Just before 3 p.m., some 200 to 300 protesters, some with bandanas covering their faces, broke away from the main group and ran into the streets, circling the area of Market and Van Ness Avenue.

Chanting "Whose streets? Our streets?" and "Build the community, smash the state," the group beat on doors and, at times, blocked traffic. On Duboce Avenue, they overturned kitchen equipment that was being delivered to a restaurant and rolled some metal carts in the way of police.
While this group was not representative of the protesters overall, damaging property and resisting police doesn't do anything but hurt their cause.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Common Sense

Owning a computer and possessing the ability to craft a few sentences doesn't necessarily indicate the presence of any common sense. Proof was published today in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Kaiser Permanente is squaring off in court next week against a fired employee, who dubs herself the "Diva of Disgruntled," for her posting of links to confidential patient information on her Internet blog.
The names, addresses, telephone numbers, medical record numbers and, in some cases, laboratory test results of about 140 Kaiser members were posted on three Web sites, all of which were taken down this month.
According to the Chronicle, the "Diva", Elisa D. Cooper, also attempted to sell patient information on eBay.

Ah, Oakland

Suicidal trucker surrenders
Oakland, California's national reputation is that of the seedy and undesirable city-across-the-bay from San Francisco. This image is largely unwarranted, at least in my own experience.

That said however, until moving to Oakland I had never witnessed an armed police standoff live and in person. This report from the Oakland Tribune is what I had the thrill of watching from my 22nd floor office yesterday.
A man angry at the way he had been treated by the criminal justice system threatened Friday afternoon to kill himself by crashing into a downtown office building with his big-rig truck.

Alonzo Evans, 61, gave up after police agreed to let him speak to Oakland Tribune reporter Heather MacDonald. No one was injured.
I have to admit, watching 20 police officers pointing assault rifles at someone is different live than it is on TV.


Friday, March 18, 2005


During the '94-'95 baseball strike I pledged not to go to another game. Players and owners alike had let me down and I didn't feel any of them deserved more of my money. Well, my little boycott hasn't exactly worked out, I've been to a few games.

But now comes the great steroid scandal. It's such a threat to the American way of life that Congress seems to think that global terrorism and the Social Security debate will have to wait. This is more important.

Now, I'm not so sure that it deserves all this congressional attention, but it doesn't do much for the way I feel about baseball. The game's image has never been the same since the strike ten years ago and cheating by so many big names mars its image further. Maybe this time I'll stay away for good.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Born in fifth century Britain, Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. One legend is that he taught the Irish about the concept of the trinity by showing them the shamrock, a three-leafed clover. He died on March 17th of the year 461, 492 or 493.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


A California starter home

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, DataQuick reports that housing is still red-hot in California.
The statewide median price paid for homes and condominiums in February was $407,000, up 21.1 percent from $336,000 the same month a year ago and up 1.8 percent from $400,000 in January, real estate research firm DataQuick Information Systems said Wednesday.


According to the New York Times, a report to be published tomorrow in the New England Journal of Medicine says that obesity may cause a significant drop in the average life expectancies for Americans.
BOSTON, March 16 - For the first time in two centuries, a generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents, according to a report that contends that the rapid rise in childhood obesity, if left unchecked, may shorten life spans by as much as five years.
What would that do for Social Security?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Non-Social Security plans

The Kansas City Star takes a look at pension plans available to 5 million American public sector workers instead of Social Security. Most of the workers covered by these plans are firemen, policemen and teachers.
A paper by the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank, notes that on average non-Social Security plans pay between 3.3 and 7.5 times the annual benefit of Social Security.

“They certainly show that investing in real capital assets, given a long investing timeline and broad diversification, you can provide a better benefit,” said Michael Tanner, a Cato Institute expert on Social Security.
But as the fight in Washington heats up over how to reform the massive safety net, opinions vary as to whether such pension systems — many of them quite successful — could be copied on a larger scale.
The Star requires a free registration, but this story is worth the effort.

The Terminator vs. Meathead

From the LA Times, candidates are already lining up to face Schwarzenegger in 2006:
Democratic state Treasurer Phil Angelides is poised to announce that he will run for California governor in 2006, launching an early assault against Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger more than a year before the primary election.
But only in California could you see something like this:
A Field Poll released last week showed Schwarzenegger holding a 15-point lead over any potential 2006 challenger. In a hypothetical match-up, the poll found Angelides would place third in a Democratic primary — behind Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer and Rob Reiner, the actor and director known for promoting early childhood education.
And Sally Struthers for Attorney General, perhaps? Reiner has said he's not interested in running.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Media bias?

In the never-ending debate over media bias, the Columbia Universtity Graduate School of Journalism weighs in.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. media coverage of last year's election was three times more likely to be negative toward President Bush than Democratic challenger John Kerry, according to a study released Monday.

The annual report by a press watchdog that is affiliated with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism said that 36 percent of stories about Bush were negative compared to 12 percent about Kerry, a Massachusetts senator.

More Scott Peterson

Just in case you're suffering withdrawal symptoms since the Scott Peterson trial ended, get ready for another dose.
Scott Peterson should receive a new trial in his nationally watched murder case because prosecutors withheld evidence that might have exonerated him of the December 2002 killings of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child, defense attorneys argued.
Attorneys on both sides should make oral arguments Wednesday regarding a new trial--our judicial system and tax dollars at work.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

$550,00 for bird perches

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, we're spending over half a million bucks to accommodate double-crested cormorants living on the Bay Bridge. Funny thing is, if you've spent much time living in the Bay Area, that really sounds reasonable. Sad, huh?

The Bay Bridge boondoggle has something for everyone -- even the birds.

It turns out that the state Department of Transportation is spending $550, 000 to build a strip of special perches along the new bridge for the double- crested cormorant -- a lanky black bird with a hooked bill and a parcel of legally protected squatters' rights it earned from having spent the past 20 years roosting on the underside of the old bridge.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Media Matters

Media Matters for America practices its very own brand of silliness. They like to compare apples to oranges and then expect us to believe their findings are somehow meaningful.
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Conservative misinformation is defined as news or commentary presented in the media that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda.
So they count the number of times the media references controversial political statements:
In the five days after Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) referenced Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany while criticizing Republican senators, his comments were reported extensively by major media outlets, including Fox News, CNN, MNSBC, the Associated Press, Roll Call, and ABC -- 19 media reports in all. In the five days after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, "We don't do Lincoln Day dinners in South Carolina. It's nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things," the media virtually ignored his remarks. Graham's statement was mentioned by CNN, Roll Call, the National Journal's CongressDaily newsletter, and the Frontrunner, which excerpted the Roll Call mention. That's it: four mentions.
Geez, c'mon. Which is more newsworthy? Senator Byrd is a colorful old fellow who, in his younger days, belonged to an organization that wore sheets over their heads and terrorized blacks. Besides, a remark about Hitler trumps Lincoln in the news any day.


Geraldo Rivera

We were watching a local San Francisco TV program this morning during breakfast when they announced "Breaking news in the Brian Nichols case in Georgia. We'll take you there right after this break." Silly. Why would we sit through three minutes of commercials when, through the magic of DirectTV, we can get the news NOW?

I flipped to Fox News and there was Geraldo, live from Georgia. He had the scoop. Brian Nichols had been captured.

But Geraldo still pisses me off. Not one who normally holds a grudge, I'm still mad at Rivera. Every time I see him I'm reminded of April in 1986 when he held us hostage in front of our TVs for the opening of Al Capone's vault. Two hours of live TV from the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, so suspenseful. Two hours watching Geraldo, wearing an excavation helmet, speculate about all the money, whiskey and bones that must be inside.

Geraldo finally brought in the explosives team. More suspense. Finally, the blast, the dust, the commotion. Geraldo led the camera into the vault. Dirt. Nothing but dirt and a couple of empty whiskey bottles. Surely this would be the end of Geraldo Rivera's career. So I thought.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Hot enough for ya?

Yes, I actually heard that question on the radio today on my way home. It rarely gets into the 80s in the Bay Area during the summer, so upper 80s in March is pretty unusual.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

No free lunch

From the WSJ
By a vote of 74-25, lawmakers passed a bill that would require more people who file for personal bankruptcy protection to repay a portion of their debts.

Under present bankruptcy law about 70% of debtors are processed under Chapter 7 where their financial obligations are completely erased. The new law would force more debtors into Chapter 13 where, after means testing, the court would help them restructure their debt, establish a repayment schedule and creditors would get paid at least part of what is owed them. People in bankruptcy would also be required to get credit counseling.

What it means is, if you have a job and you go out and buy too much house and too much car and you max out your credit cards at Circuit City, you can no longer get out of your mess scot-free by filing for bankruptcy. But if you have fallen on hard times, can't get a job or have huge medical bills, there is still a safety net. This is decent legislation that is way past due.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Charlie bipartisan? Never.

Charles Rangel (D-NY)

Charlie Rangel just cracks me up and I don't know why. Just to look at the buffoon makes me smile. And I don't say "buffoon" in a negative way, I mean he really is a clown and he plays the part so well. Charlie can get away with ludicrous comments that would get serious politicians in trouble. But politically, he is very predictable.
One prominent Democrat declined the challenge. "Private accounts will not be on the table if you are looking for bipartisanship," said New York Rep. Charles Rangel, reflecting the sentiment of party leaders.
If bipartisanship is what you want, Charlie's the last guy to talk to.

Great minds

I was beginning to think that no one else cared about the huge ransom allegedly paid for the release of the Italian journalist until I saw this column by Michelle Malkin.
Whatever the final tally, it's a whopping bounty that will undoubtedly come in handy for cash-hungry killers in need of spiffy new rocket-propelled grenade launchers, AK-47s, mortars, landmines, components for vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, and recruitment fees. (To put this windfall in perspective, bear in mind that the 9/11 plot was a half-million dollar drop in the bucket for Osama bin Laden.)
I said pretty much the same thing in my post several days ago. It's just that Michelle says it so much better.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Yeah, right.

Do they really expect us to believe this tripe? "
The suspected kidnappers of former Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena said in a video broadcast by Italian media on Tuesday that no ransom was paid to end the journalist's month-long captivity.
"Yeah, so we murder innocent people, abduct journalists, behead captives and post the video on the internet, but we wouldn't take ransom money." I believe it, don't you?

Are bloggers journalists?

This will certainly be interesting.
Bloggers may be pushing the boundaries of online communication, breaking news and waylaying politicians and corporate executives, but are they journalists?

Monday, March 07, 2005


Eco-terrorism is one of those concepts where, every time I hear the word, I just know there's something not quite right about it. I just don't understand what kind of statement is made by torching SUVs or blowing up homes.

In another example of California silliness, three eco-terrorists have been arrested for attempting to firebomb a couple of upscale homes near Sacramento. I suppose we should all live in caves.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Sgrena's Ransom

It's likely that a large ransom was paid to free Italian left-wing journalist Giuliana Sgrena.
Asked whether ransom was paid, Agriculture Minister Giovanni Alemanno said it was "very probable." An Iraqi politician, Younadem Kana, said he had "nonofficial" information that $1 million was paid, Italy's Apcom news agency reported, although that could not be confirmed.
How many suicide bombs can be made with a million bucks?

Meanwhile, back in Kansas

There's some interesting stuff going on back in my homeland.
Indeed, a host of conservative Christian causes are moving forward: on April 5, Kansas voters will take up one of the strictest anti-gay marriage amendments in the nation; the state school board is embroiled in arguments between evolution and Biblical beliefs about creation; and fresh battles have begun over book banning and abortion rights.
Thanks to Jim at The Shaggy Dog for bringing this to my attention. He came across it at Fark.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


In another example of Bay Area silliness
, Superior Court Judge John Sutro has refused to allow the legal eviction to be carried out against 82-year-old Sarah Nome who has taken up residence at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Rafael. Though not ill, she refuses to leave because she claims to have nowhere to go.

Now before you start getting all weepy for this poor old woman, understand that two Bay Area nursing homes have offered to take her in, but she refuses because they are not in Marin County where she has lived all of her life. She is suing her last nursing home so they don't want her back. Her own daughter refuses to take her in and her former neighbors, who were often embroiled in legal battles with Nome, are happy she's gone. She now owes Kaiser Permanente $1.2 million and is racking up an additional $3,090 every day for her stubbornness.

Why do I keep flashing back to Anne Ramsey's character in Danny DeVito's "Throw Momma from the Train"?

Political Hack

When you can't discuss the issues intelligently, resort to name-calling.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan generally gets accolades for his public pronouncements. Yesterday he got a brickbat from Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who blasted Greenspan as "one of the biggest political hacks we have here in Washington."

Then, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), trying to defend Reid's statement said:
"There's a moat around the Fed that says he doesn't get involved in political discussions," Emanuel said. "He took the moat down."
The Chairman regularly appears before Congress, is forced to endure endless grandstanding by congressmen who seem to have a life's ambition to coerce a political statement from Greenspan, and then he's damned if he expresses one. Some moat.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Floyd was 97. A fall on the driveway and a broken bone led to a couple of days in the hospital where he unceremoniously drifted away on Tuesday afternoon. No suffering, no commotion, not a bad way to go.

Floyd was Mary's (Mrs. THC) grandfather, so she was on an early Southwest flight to Kansas City this morning.

The funeral is Saturday and there shouldn't be too many tears. Not because Floyd was unloved, but because it was time. He had dementia and was often not certain where he was or who was around him. So Floyd's family will celebrate his life and say goodbye. A big family gathering with food and laughter. Floyd would have liked that.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Early on the morning of May 20th, 1927 Charles A. Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field near New York City in The Spirit of Saint Louis. Thirty-three and a half hours later Lindbergh touched down in Paris at 10:22 pm local time. He had not slept in 55 hours.

On February 28th, 2005, nearly 78 years later, Steve Fossett took off from Salina Municipal Airport in central Kansas attempting to fly around the world solo, non-stop and without refueling. The 23,000 mile journey came to its successful conclusion today in Salina at 1:50 pm, 67 hours after it began.

Salina is not Paris and Fossett's plane, The GlobalFlyer wasn't stormed by an excited mob. There won't be giant parades to honor his feat and Fossett might not be included in high school history books. But his accomplishment today is, nonetheless, truly amazing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Gouge 'em, they're only tourists

San Francisco hopes to raise bus and streetcar rates by 25 cents to $1.50 this fall, and also wants to raise cable car fares by $2--to five bucks a trip. Why the big hike for cable cars and not other modes of public transportation?
Muni spokeswoman Maggie Lynch conceded that cable car fares were going up more than other fares because cable cars "are mainly used by tourists."
And who wants tourists anyway?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Hey, gotta light?

Matches but not lighters. The Transportation Safety Administration has banned cigarette lighters on commercial airliners beginning April 14th, but passengers will still be able to carry on as many as four books of matches.
An OMB spokesman said the TSA needs to complete a cost-benefit analysis of banning matches.

"If we move to add matches to the list, we will post the proposal for public comment," TSA spokesman Mark Hatfield said.
A "cost-benefit analysis" really? Do some Americans really want this kind of government bureaucracy in charge of our health care and retirement?