Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not Quite Fixed

Since I'm mostly computer illiterate and I don't want to break my laptop anymore than necessary, I will hold off on the reformat until I can get it in to the tech guys at the office, who live for stuff like this.

It's been an interesting year. Work, Depos, hurricane, new home, new school for the kids, Sea World...

Next year should be even better.

Like most years, I will not be making any resolutions, however, I will be conscious of things that I need to do.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Happy New Year!

Hopefully, we'll ring it in virus-free, as I am attempting my reformat in just a few minutes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Giving Terrorists a Safe Haven

The United States reportedly did just that with one organization (the MEK), and the Iraqi government is done with it.

Rather than try to put my own spin on the story, I recommend you read the Obsidian Wings story, here.


And Away She Went

Gramma went home today. We had to get up at 3:15 to make sure we got her to the airport in time (2 hours early for her flight, and all). Fortunately, this is 1:15 Pacific time, which is what her body clock is used to, so it's not like she was getting up 4-6 hours early. I was likewise fortunate, as I only had to drive 50 minutes to the airport, and then decide whether to drive another hour back home (at 5:30, after gramma was all checked in and through the gate) and then go to work, or just head in to work. I opted for the latter as it included less driving. Whoever scheduled gramma's flight home should be chastised as this was possibly the most inconvenient time for a return trip as possible.

But, it was nice to have Gramma here, and she is missed already.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year End

The Lions finished 0-16 - the most losses by a team ever in the NFL in one season. Matt Millen must be glowing.

There will be a leap-second this year - one extra second of the Bush administration. I still think there should be a bipartisan/nonpartisan investigation into the workings of the Bush administration to determine if there are grounds for prosecuting war crimes. Remember, Pvt. England is in jail as a scapegoat - if she's culpable, then so are those who gave her her orders.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house,
Not a Creature was Stirring, not even a mouse.

The rest of the poem can be read here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Name Does Not Equal Experience

I have no qualms about Caroline Kennedy running for Senate. If she enters into a campaign and the people of the State of New York elect her to Senate, that's great - that's their decision and her seat.

However, she includes among her qualifications as candidate for Federal Office the fact that she has written articles about the Constitution and she has raised her family. That's embarrassingly laughable as far as qualifications go. At least Sarah Palin has been elected to Office. Sure she's not done much since, but she can hang her hat on that. She's been elected Mayor and Governor. Caroline has the good fortune of having been born a Kennedy. That does not mean she is fit for the position of Senator, and certainly does not mean that she is the person best suited to fill Senator Clinton's seat.

Appoint someone who's held office, who knows something about serving in public office. If Caroline Kennedy wants to be a Senator, then let her get elected.

To suggest anything other if you've criticized Sarah Palin is hypocritical.

Stupid Virus, Ctd

I just can't seem to shake this virus in my computer. I think I get rid of it (I even went into the registry and manually deleted it) and it still comes back. I will likely have to reformat. I don't like the idea of having to reformat, but I have to do what I have to do.

It sucks because I can only get on the computer for about 3-5 minute intervals before the popups start showing up.

Anyway, Merry Christmas Eve eve.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Take Off Your Hat

A Muslim woman was recently jailed in Georgia after refusing to take off her hijab in court. She says in the article linked above that she felt stripped of her civil, human rights.

Without looking into the details too much, I would suggest that this is not a civil rights issue, rather it is a Lemon Test/1st Amendment issue. The immediate question I had when I read this was, is this act - sentencing a person to jail for 10 days for refusing to remove headgear something that is neutral with respect to religion? If I went in wearing a Detroit Tigers hat, would I be jailed for refusing to remove it? Does this act have a legitimate secular reason (I would think there is one)? Does it place favor of one religion over another? Based on the facts (and the fact that she uttered an expletive after being told she would have to remove it), I would suggest that this is not the outrage that people might want to see it as.

For those who favor separation of church and state, as the Court has explained the 1st Amendment does, this interpretation of how I understand the situation to be is right - strange for a Georgia judge, I know.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hustle and Bustle

It's been a busy week at the Ditch. Gramma came in on Tuesday and we are thrilled to have her. She's on vacation from home, which is nice, and she's not seen the new Casa De Binjo, so she's very happy.

Work has picked up over the past few days with deadlines hitting and other things going on. Christmas shopping is in full swing, and holiday fun is being had - sort of.

We still have to trim the Christmas tree, but at least it's up.

I'll have more later, I'm sure. For the 10 people who still show up and aren't looking up Fused Alloy Bullets.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Constitution Is Not Perfect

And anyone who suggests that the Founders believed it to be perfect is either misinformed, stupid, or trying to push an agenda.

The easiest way to tell that the Founders did not believe the Constitution to be flawless is that they incorporated a method by which to amend the Constitution. Had they believed it to be a perfect document, then why would it necessitate amending? There are two suggestions - time is not a vacuum, which is to say that what was the case in 1789 (public stocks, slavery, women having fewer rights than gravel) is not going to necessarily hold true in 2009. This is in part why the founders wrote somewhat vaguely, to give room for interpretation.

Another piece of evidence that the Founders did not believe the Constitution to be perfect comes from the date of the Bill of Rights, also known as the First 10 Amendments. If you look carefully, or not even carefully, but at all, you will see that the Bill of Rights were not incorporated concurrently with the Constitution. In fact, one of the great hangups with the Constitution was the premise that it had no Bill of Rights. The People would not ratify the Constitution until said Bill was at least promised to be forthcoming. That the People would require something beyond what was written in the Constitution itself in order to even ratify it should supply sufficient evidence for anyone willing to think for half a second that the Founders believed the Constitution to be perfect as written.

I write this as a rant not for any reason other than it's been bugging me for some time as I have seen it written on blogs and heard it from people here and there that somehow Liberals dislike America because they believe the Constitution to be flawed. I think this idea, that questioning the omnipotence of the Constitution, is glib. But I recognize that reasonable people can come to differing opinions on what is or is not the case, and I'm certain there are several who will come here (okay, maybe 3) and read this and consider my opinion to be pure tommyrot. To them, I merely ask for proof that the Founders believed the Constitution was perfect as written, if they got this far in my late night rant.

There is a Santa Claus

Just ask this girl, who wrote to him. While I am not an advocate of writing letters to Santa in school necessarily, I certainly like the results of this story, if it turns out to be true.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stupid Virus

Grandma's coming tomorrow night - we're excited to have her. I have depositions to edit that are due tomorrow. I have at least two other corporate entities whom I must review records for to determine what to use in deposition, I still haven't put up the Christmas tree (we don't have much for Christmas decorations outside the tree), and we have to finish cleaning the house.

So I end up with a virus. Not just any virus, but an Antivirus 360 virus.

I have not yet downloaded the link, which is going to be a pain in the rear to get rid of. If it's half as hard as getting rid of whatever I have, that is. It sounds like I'm going to have to get in and dig around the registry, which I'm reluctant to do as I'm no computer guru.

I've talked with my computer guy at work and have learned that McAfee, while once the gold standard in virus protection, no longer is the leader. Now he recommends Panda Security, which I will be downloading tonight or tomorrow, as well as Spybot Search and Destroy, which I'm going to set up here briefly.

This is going to be a fun evening. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And it Somehow Again Goes Back to the Bush Administration

PFC England must be feeling much better now that she's in jail for what has been determined to be Rumsfeld's fault. But of course, this was necessary because of the connection between Hussein and 9-11. Oh, wait...

Michael Steele Speaks the Hard Truth

But will the Republican Party want to hear it? (From the Moderate Voice)

The fact is, it's possible to substantially agree with the Republican Party Platform and yet be pro-life, or prefer a secular society. Goldwater managed to do it. The question is, is the leadership willing to include, or is it still looking to a "you're either with us or against us" approach to governing that has worked so well thus far?

And the Democratic leadership would be wise to pay attention to what happens, as there are several pro-life, anti-gun control liberals out there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let it Snow!

So I walk out of work this evening, after a relatively long day. I know the traffic is going to be lousy because it's dark out and it's been wet, windy and cold all day.

I walk out the door of the building and I get hit with precipitation, but it isn't rain. I pause (figuratively, it's pretty chilly out and I own no jacket), and recognize that I'm being hit with snowflakes. Now for much of America, this is to be expected in December. But we are in Houston. In Houston, it snows about once every five years or so (I've lived here for 5 years and this is the second time it's snowed). This is a bit phenomenal. It was almost exciting enough for me to forget how I had been left out in the cold waiting next to the chinese restaurant by a friend of mine who asked me to set aside my time, who completely blew me off with nary an explanation. Fortunately, I'm originally from Michigan, so I'm relatively thick-skinned (figuratively speaking), and this doesn't affect me too much.

The kids loved going outside in the snow. It's not cold enough to accumulate, but it's still falling, and they were having a ball (literally, as some of it had gathered on the bench in the backyard and they had a brief snowball fight). The fireplace was lit for the first time in the new house, and the children enjoyed warming up after their jaunt in the cold wintry air with some hot cocoa.

It felt like Winter.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

I forgot how much
I enjoy watching hockey
Sports with action - wow!

As always, I welcome your contributions.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Case is Closed

I have discussed this matter once before, when I discussed whether or not the charge that President-elect Obama was or was not a "natural-born" citizen. Some people, however, have continued to insist (not on my site, but elsewhere, in more well-read blogs) that there is a "there" there.

While it should be the end of the matter, it won't be - but, the Supreme Court denied cert in one of the suits, and, at least by lack of ruling, implied that President-elect Obama meets the Constitutional requirements to serve as the President of the United States. There are other suits pending, but I think they will likely find a similar fate.

While I consider this to be a no-brainer, I understand that there are others who might legitimately think there is something to this. However, the Court has had its say, and the Constitution seems to be pretty clear - unless you're really willing to stretch your imagination. He will be inaugurated as the next President of the United States.

Other bloggers weighing in:
The Gun Toting Liberal

I Hate CSI Miami

Occasionally, I will try to watch an episode of CSI Miami in order to lambaste it on this blog. I do this not because I like the show, but because I think it's a public service to show just how far they stretch plausibility or even possibility. I mean, we're talking about a team that can figure out who the murderer is by the imprint of the license plate of the car that hit the dead guy's briefcase. It has David Caruso. It has Elizabeth Berkeley - in a dramatic (?) role!!!! It deserves to be lampooned.

However, tonight, I'm not going to watch it. This is because I'm tired, and because I don't feel as though I can stomach it tonight. Maybe next time.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

On this date, 67 years ago, carrier-borne aircraft from Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, prompting FDR to ask Congress to declare war, entering us into World War 2.

Take a moment to reflect on the freedoms our country yet enjoy, and thank those who gave some or all of their lives defending it.

Grumpy Boy

The Boy is a little grumpy. He has to turn in an assignment to school tomorrow about the Coahuiltecan indians of South Texas. He chose this group (they are not a tribe) because he read that they ate deer dung, among other things. He's learned quite a bit about the tribe, but I think it's in spite of his desires.

Right now, we're working on a diorama to use as a visual for the class to see. I would have gone out and bought some of the foods they ate, but I'm not sure where to find prickly pears, cactus leaves, grubs, dirt, rabbits, lizards, ant eggs, spiders, and snails outside of San Angelo, and that's too far to commute. So instead, he's building a sample house of theirs called wikiups.

All in all, I'm interested in what he's learned, but I wish he was a little more into completing the assignment.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

'Tis the Season

Last night was the wife's office Christmas Party. Nothing like 2 score real estate guys and gals drinking it up. Actually, it was fun. We ate at Smith and Wollensky, which was pretty nice, though I would have to say if you go and you have a choice between the Filet (which I had) and the Prime Rib (which was an option), go with the Prime Rib. It looked juicy and succulent while my filet was burnt and dry.

I also had some nice wine, about a glass and a half (I don't really drink, but I never "quit" so I don't think I cheated) and some wassail, which I thought was just something you sang about with love and joy. It wasn't bad - it tasted like guava juice with mulling spices.

While my wife were out having fun in Highland Village, the kids were busy being babysat by the Photogs. It sounds like much fun was had by all, except near the end of the evening when exhaustion took over and the Wii started cheating on the young'uns.

Tonight I took the Boy out for one of his birthday gifts. We went to a Houston Aeros game. He had fun, though I think he was almost as excited about getting a blanket from the cheerleaders as he was about the game. It was a good game. 3 fights, 7 goals - at least 3 on Power Play and one in the last minute with the goalie pulled. The only downside is that I got mustard on my shirt from the $8(!) hotdog. It was a good experience, though, and I'm glad to have gotten to take The Boy to his first hockey game.

Tomorrow is going to be a bit of a day off - I think I'm going to relax, rake the leaves back into a pile for the kids to jump in (we have pictures, it's cute), and watch some football where Florida doesn't win.

OJ is Guilty

Of course, that probably wasn't seriously in doubt given the audio of what happened. However, that didn't stop people from complaining. There's going to be an appeal, in part because there were no african americans on the jury, and probably on other grounds as well.

Now, even though he's in jail (and it's entirely possible that the kidnapping charge could be reversed given Nevada's precedent regarding kidnapping in conjunction with robbery), he is potentially liable to those he held for false imprisonment, assault, and other charges.

OJ's future doesn't look good, but he brought it upon himself.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Accepting Responsibility

Andrew Sullivan has his say on our President's (in)ability to exhibit personal accountability.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Drops of Jupiter

Well, not really "drops" of Jupiter, but it was visible last night. Jupiter and Venus were both out last night, just below and to the right of the Moon.

After I got home, I pulled out my grandpa's old binoculars and brought the young'uns out to take a look at them. They were duly impressed, as was I. I think this was the first time I saw planets - at least, the first time that I saw them and recognized them for what they were. It was a neat experience, particularly seeing the kids all dazzled.