4/29/2008

US Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Voter ID Law

The US Supreme Court upheld Indiana's Voter ID law, rejecting the argument that it disfranchised voters.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that states can mandate photo identification at the polls without violating the Constitution. The ruling in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is a big deal, and not merely because it continues a welcome trend on the Court of deferring to elected bodies.

The 6-3 opinion, which upheld an Indiana photo ID requirement, does a public service by debunking the notion that voter fraud is a myth concocted by right-wing partisans. If that were true, we must now conclude that the Court's most liberal justices are part of the conspiracy.

I never cared much for the so-called Motor-Voter law, which made it easier for people to register to vote. Making it easier to register isn't the part with which I disagree. Rather the problem with the law is that it makes it easier for those who intend to game the system and commit voter fraud. With a picture ID, it becomes much more difficult for someone to vote more than once, or for the dead to magically re-animate just long enough to cast a vote. The Supremes made the right decision, giving the states a means of reducing the potential for fraud the Motor-Voter law created.

Of course those who opposed the Indiana Voter ID law were the same who would have the most to lose from such ID laws, primarily those with a history of committing or condoning voter fraud. And of that group, most of them are Democrats. But then, the Democratic party has along history of being supported through voter fraud. Don't let their protestations that voter ID laws will disfranchise voters. Most states, offer low or no cost picture IDs though their respective state Motor Vehicle departments. While some may argue that it is too difficult for many to obtain them due to their circumstances, the Supremes disagreed, saying it isn't as difficult as it was being made out to be by opponents.

Maybe now we can restore confidence in the election system by ensuring only those eligible to vote can do so.

4/28/2008

Obama Better Be Ready To Answer The Tough Questions

The primary campaign season is still in full swing and the left-leaning media is already making excuses for their anointed candidate, Barack Obama.

Senator Obama is a charismatic man, coming across as a nice guy. In person, he may be. But as someone in the public eye he has to know he'll be under the kind of scrutiny that very few other people in this country will ever experience. He also has to know that he's not going to keep getting softball questions as the time of the convention grows near. And should he be the Democratic nominee, he better be ready to face some very tough questions when he faces John McCain. McCain has already shown he has no problems handling tough questions from the media. He does it every day. So why should Obama be any different?

4/27/2008

Thoughts On A Sunday

BeezleBub has finally gotten back into the swing of farm work (as if he really needed the time), and is looking forward to summer. He really likes working on the farm, though I think a lot of that is all the farm machinery he gets to work with (and on). While he isn't old enough yet to drive the tractors, he's proven he knows more about them than the folks using them do.

I have no doubt he'll remain on the short list of desirable employees for years to come.

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Bruce sends an invitation to a semi-literate commenter to come visit.

Writes Bruce:

Let me know when you want to drop by and I'll be sure to leave a window by the back deck unlocked for you.

I'm sure Bruce will be waiting for him with his new acquisition.

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With all the snowfall we had over the winter and the large amounts of runoff from the snowpack you'd think there'd be little problem with brushfires. It's one of the conundrums of spring, one we've had to deal with here in central New Hampshire over the past week.

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Despite the calls by the American public for the government to do something about rising gas prices, there's very little it can do directly except make things worse.

Other than allowing new refineries to be built and oil exploration and drilling to take place, any other actions taken will end up doing more harm than good, as it usually does. A perfect example is biofuels, specifically ethanol. It's a multibillion dollar boondoggle that is eating up taxpayer dollars, creating food shortages, driving up the price of corn, wheat, and soy, among other crops, and diverting resources better used for other purposes.

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It seems that far too many Republicans have fallen into the trap of ever increasing spending without thinking about the consequences. Once there's a revenue shortfall, they are reluctant to do what is necessary: cut spending. Too many follow the lead of the Democrats and vote to increase taxes and fees. But there's at least one Republican in office that lives up to Republican ideals and isn't afraid to cut spending and sticks to his guns, refusing to back down when others say it can't be done.

We need more guys like that in Congress and the state legislatures.

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We had to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove late today. This is the frist time we've had to do this for well over a week as the temps have been in the upper 60's to lower 80's. But we're going to be in the lower 40's to lower 50's at best for the next four days or so. Rather than burning our dwindling supply of propane to heat The Manse, it's far more economical to burn some of our firewood.

Hopefully this will be the last time we'll have to do so until sometime next fall.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is gone from the lake, the brush fires are out, and where our boat will soon be back out on the lake.

4/26/2008

Fred Thompson - We Still Like Him

Bird Dog over at Maggie's Farm posted this video of Fred Thompson being interviewed by Sean Hannity. After watching it I have to say that, like Bird Dog, I too still like Fred Thompson.





John McCain could do worse than convincing Fred Thompson to be his running mate. Of course Fred has stated on more than one occasion he has no desire for that particular office, but I think he could be persuaded. If nothing else I think Fred could help the Republican party retain the White House.

4/25/2008

It's Time For Me To Start Making Noise

I have written little about the ongoing presidential primary races. Frankly, I was already exhausted from the campaigning that started all of two weeks after the 2004 elections. Other than a few comments and some plugs for Fred Thompson, I've haven't posted much about the race for the nominations. That's about to change.

While John McCain wasn't my number one choice as the Republican nominee, I have no problem supporting him for the election in November. He isn't my concern.

However, I cannot say the same about one of the Democratic candidates.

While I am no fan of Hillary Clinton, I hope she can defeat Barack Obama and gain the nomination.

The more I read about Senator Obama, the more I've come to realize he's the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's shown his elitist snobbery, his inexperience at the national level, and his hard core liberal beliefs that he knows what's better for us than we do. Barack Obama in the White House would be a setback to the Carter years, a time I have no desire to relive.

Want a preview of what a Barack Obama presidency will look like?

Four significant public policy changes are certain: the size, scope and spending of the federal government will substantially expand; income taxes will go up; protectionism will replace free trade; and a commitment to global internationalism will saddle America with a broad Kyoto global warming agreement that, according to the U.N. Climate Treaty Secretariat, should exempt China and India.

And that's just for starters.

4/23/2008

Global Warming Starting To Lose Its Luster

Are any of you out there surprised I've been on an anti-anthropogenic global warming campaign lately? As more evidence comes to light that the AGW folks may have been premature going into “We're all gonna DIE!” mode, the faithful cling to the notion that we must take drastic measures to save Earth's climate. But what does that mean? What drastic measures? And how much effect will those drastic measures actually have?

Listening to the AGW adherents over the past few years, I've come to the conclusion that they really don't know what needs to be done, or by whom. (Actually they know exactly who should handle it: the Government.) Oh, they'll talk a great game, but when it comes to actually doing something about it, it's somebody else that should bear the burdens they want to place upon the rest of humanity. Not them. After all they need to be able to keep an eye on the rest of us to make sure we've properly impoverished ourselves and are not exceeding the limits they intend to place upon every other human being on the planet.

But still the question begs, what exactly would the ever not-so-mysterious “They” have us do? And what if the actions we take to 'repair' Earth's climate ends up doing little if anything to affect climate change but prevents us from taking steps to mitigate the effects of it, to adapt ourselves and our societies to the changes expected by the AGW proponents? If the AGW folks are right, and even if by their best estimates the massive reductions in human generated greenhouse gases they want will have little effect over the next 100 years or so, wouldn't the billions or trillions of dollars they want us to spend be better spent preparing for those changes? The AGW faithful will, of course, say that any price is worth it to fix the problem. The problem with that answer is that they are wrong, wrong in so many ways I'm not even going to attempt to list them.

Now ask yourself this question: What if the global warming folks are wrong and the warming we've seen in the past hundred years or so is a normal variation? Or what if they're wrong about the negative effects of global warming and the effect of such warming is positive? (Think the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, when the global temperatures were warmer than they are now.) Or what if these changes are now reversing themselves and we are instead entering another Little Ice Age? Or worse, entering an extended Ice Age? Would the billions or trillions we spent combating global warming have been wasted on something that was never a threat or was, in fact, something beneficial to us?

Of course the AGW faithful will never let such thoughts enter their minds. It goes against the doctrine of the sainted Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet and the Supreme Climatologist Extraordinaire whose wisdom and knowledge about such things should never be questioned.

Yeah. Right.

4/21/2008

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Scam

The hysteria over global warming, and particularly the cries of “Heretic!” coming from the followers of AlGore (may the blessings of Gaia be upon his name) when confronting those with the audacity to question the catechism of anthropogenic global warming, has reminded so much of the trials and tribulations of Galileo when he thought to question the orthodoxy of his day.

It's one thing to call those not conversant with climate science who question AGW 'deniers', but how can those who are far more knowledgeable about it than many of the proponents be called such? The faithful will try to diminish their expertise by claiming they are bought and paid for by the oil and coal companies even though those same faithful are fully in thrall to those who see that AGW as a path to power and wealth. It is the faithful who hate the deniers, who try to state the debate about global warming is over and that “everyone knows” humans are the sole cause. Whatever you do, don't try to confuse them with facts that go against their orthodoxy. To them everything else is unimportant.

America is in the throes of a major housing and financial downturn, soaring food and energy costs, rising unemployment and near recession. But many legislators and bureaucrats are falling all over themselves to restrict fossil fuel use, advance climate change legislation – and thereby increase oil imports, energy prices, and impacts on families and businesses.

Earth did warm slightly over the last quarter century, as it emerged further from the Little Ice Age, and humans likely played a role. However, literally hundreds of climate scientists say catastrophic climate change and dominant human influence are over-hyped myths.

These are real climate scientists saying this, not political hacks or those with little or no knowledge about climatology, like sociologists, economists, and political scientists. Prophesying the disastrous effects of global warming (which no one has proved will be the outcome of such warming, and history appears to say otherwise) is a way of selling fear, and fear allows the AGW faithful to gain political and financial power. After all, they say that all we have to do to be safe is to allow them to impoverish the poor even more and destroy the world economy. All it takes is for us to give them the power to do what needs to be done. It's a ploy that's been used before (Hitler, anyone?). My dear brother came up with a more direct approach to dealing with the 'problem': kill two-thirds of the world's human population.

Of course the AGW folks solution to the problem will accomplish the same thing, but will make it a long, drawn out, excruciatingly painful process, which in their eyes is, in some twisted fashion, more humane. (Don't ask me to explain this belief...I don't think I can.)

Despite all of this it appears that global warming is not high on Americans' lists, at least in regards to the upcoming November elections, where the issue appeared dead last in a recent poll. But that won't stop the faithful from preaching their ever less relevant gospel.

4/20/2008

Thoughts On A Sunday

Saturday was BeezleBub's first day back at the farm. He had a great day on his first day back, but he did overlook one thing.

Sunscreen.

Even though his dear old dad reminded him more than once to put on some sunscreen, he neglected to do so.

When I went to the farm to pick him up at 4:30 in the afternoon, he looked like a UFO – an Unidentified Frying Object.

He put on some SPF 50 before he left for the farm this morning.

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While yesterday I would have said Ice Out on Lake Winnipesaukee wouldn't happen until next weekend, today I have to say it will be by Wednesday. Yesterday the ice was still white. Today it's dark blue, meaning it's melted and there's liquid water on top of the ice. It's quite thin and all that's needed to speed things up is a stiff breeze to break up the large sheets of ice covering most of the lake.

Once the ice is gone the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, aka The Boat, can be moved to its slip.

Let the boating begin!

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Canada's Human Right Commissions receive even more well deserved disparagement at the hands of the Toronto Sun.

(H/T Instapundit)

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This is one lucky dog.

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At least one state (mine) is trying to convince some of those people that vacation here it's also a good place to live and work.

They're right. But it also takes more than moving here to actually live here. A lot of people have to adjust their way of thinking to make the transition. Far too many don't succeed, which causes no end of trouble for them and us.

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Other than rising gas prices for the upcoming summer, another worry is the lack of summer jobs that is expected to hit teens and young adults the hardest.

While that isn't as much of a concern up here in central New Hampshire, it will certainly be an issue in the southern tier of the state and the rest of New England. I have no doubt it's any different throughout the rest of the US.

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George Will warns us that the Fed is suffering from “mission creep”, which will make it far more influential in regards to the economy, which was never its raison d'étre. That will not be good for any of us.

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This is incredibly stupid.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is quickly disappearing, boat owners are dreaming of the upcoming season, and yard work has started.

4/18/2008

Another Example of Shortsightedness

History abounds with examples of the Law Of Unintended Consequences. One particular example that repeats again and again is when laws are enacted that are supposed to be “good for the environment” but end up causing more harm than they prevent. And so it is with RoHS (Restrictions on Hazardous Substances). First enacted in the EU, the idea was to remove six harmful substances from consumer and commercial electronic and electrical equipment. On the face of it the idea sounds good, but there are side effects to this decision that are just now starting to make themselves felt. One such side effect I wrote about before is the coming 'Electronic Armageddon'.

Not to many believe it will come to that, where electronic and electrical appliances will start failing in ever larger numbers because of the shortsightedness of European Union lawmakers. Or at least they didn't believe me back then, but more are starting to come to the realization that it wasn't a false prediction. While the problem caused by the use of lead-free solders in electronics isn't widespread yet, it could rapidly become a major problem in short order. Who else believes this is a disaster in the making? Would you believe the IEEE and NASA?

Tin whiskers grow in the absence of lead in solder and pose a serious reliability risk to
electronic assemblies. Tin whiskers have caused system failures in both earth and spacebased
applications as well as missile systems. At least three tin whisker-induced short
circuits resulted in complete failure of in-orbit commercial satellites.

Most people think, "If it hasn’t happened to me, then I don't care about it" not realizing
that it is happening to them. Most people address problems that they know they have had
before. They do not recognize a steady drizzle of problems caused by metal whiskers. It’s
hard to "see" whiskers even when whiskers are present.

That's because they're smaller than a human hair.

The big issue with one side effect of RoHS is how the reliability of electronic and electrical systems have been or will be affected, with many people concerned that reliability will go down. So far there has been little effect on system reliability, but RoHS has not been in effect long enough to claim there will be no changes. We need to give it another year or two before any claims like that can be made.

One very big downside is RoHS is causing the use of more energy to manufacture the same products because higher processing temperatures are required in order to get lead-free solders to flow. Also, the lead-free solders use copper and silver in pace of the lead. Silver is a precious metal. It also causes far more ecological harm mining silver than it does lead. (Lead is one of the more recycled metals in use today, behind only steel, aluminum, and copper, and much of the lead used in solder comes from recycled lead.) While leaded solders are anywhere from 30 to 85% lead, with most electronic solders being around 37% lead, as little as 0.5% lead content will prevent tin whisker growth. But the EU says that lead is bad, taking much of this knowledge from the toxicity of lead paints and the tetraethyl lead once used in gasoline to boost the octane rating. But lead as used in solder for electronics isn't the same. And despite claims that lead from electronics will leach into the ground if put in a landfill, the tin/lead alloy is one form that is quite stable and won't leach into the ground. Who says so? The US Environmental Protection Agency, that's who.

So here we have feel good legislation passed in Europe that is not based on any kind of scientific evidence or studies, which in turn may cause even greater harm than it prevents. Other countries have followed suit, again with no studies of the long term impact. The EU is planning to add even more substances to their banned list even though no study has been done on the impact of the present ban, which might make the present situation even worse.

4/17/2008

Gas Prices

While this may not sound like alarming news to some, particularly those out on the West Coast, it certainly bothered me.

Yesterday, regular gasoline was selling in our local area for about $3.129 per gallon. On the way home from work today I noticed that same gas was selling for $3.369, a 24¢ increase in one day!

Some folks around here were saying gas prices weren't going to be all that bad around here this summer. But I have a feeling it will be around $4, with gas prices at the marinas around the lake will be closer to $4.50 per gallon.

It's going to be a quiet summer around here.

4/15/2008

Health Insurance - The Medical Mafia?

One more than one occasion I've stated one of the biggest factors in the rising cost of health care in the US is health insurance. Between the ever increasing paperwork load forced upon hospitals and medical practices and the disconnection between care providers and the actual cost of actually providing care, it's no wonder health care costs have gone up at a rate many times that of inflation.

John Stossel took an in-depth look at health care and its costs and pretty much came to the same conclusion: health care costs so damn much because of health insurance. It would be far cheaper to pay doctors out of pocket for most routine medical care. It would also greatly reduce costs because the paperwork factor would be greatly reduced.

And now another voice has joined the chorus, one that calls health insurance what it is: a protection racket.

Most discussions about the rising cost of health care emphasize the need to get more people insured. The assumption seems to be that insurance – rather than the service delivered by doctor to patient – is the important commodity.

But perhaps the solution to much of what currently plagues us in health care – rising costs and bureaucracy, diminishing levels of service – rests on a radically different approach: fewer people insured.

You don't need to be an economist to understand that any middleman interposed between seller and buyer raises the price of a given service or product. Some intermediaries justify this by providing benefits, such as salesmanship, advertising or transport. Others offer physical facilities, such as warehouses. A third group, organized crime, utilizes fear and intimidation to muscle its way into the provider-consumer chain, raking in hefty profits and bloating cost, without providing any benefit at all.

The health insurance model is closest to the parasitic relationship imposed by the Mafia and the like. Insurance companies provide nothing other than an ambiguous, shifty notion of "protection." But even the Mafia doesn't stick its nose into the process; once the monthly skim is set, Don Whoever stays out of the picture, but for occasional "cost of doing business" increases. When insurance companies insinuate themselves into the system, their first step is figuring out how to increase the skim by harming the people they are allegedly protecting through reduced service.

Like I said, a protection racket. Except this is a legal protection racket, sanctioned by the state, raking in millions of dollars that never make it to those actually providing service. The health insurance providers are the middlemen and their cut of the pie does nothing but get bigger. It needs to because, like any bureaucracy (and that's really what a health insurance company is), it grows to eat up more and more of the monies collected, with each added bureaucrat working hard to justify their continued employment. The more subordinates they can add beneath them makes them appear that much more vital to the operation. And each additional “vital” employee eats up that much more money that can't be used to pay for the costs of health care.

Of course such a bureaucracy can grow too much and the insurance company starts losing money. This will spur the company to do one of two things: cut operating costs by trimming staff and becoming more efficient, or cut back on coverage provided to customers while at the same time raising the price of that reduced coverage. The smart ones do both at the same time.

I have no problem with health insurance companies making a profit. I really don't. But when they do it by hurting their customers – decreasing the level of service while charging more for it – I have little sympathy for them.

So one way of keeping health care costs in check is to limit health insurance to cover catastrophic care and eliminate it for the more routine medical care. There's no doubt that this move would cause an increase in the unemployment rate. The insurance company bureaucrats and the slew of clerks once need to fill out health insurance claim forms at hospitals and medical practices throughout the land would need to find new jobs. But that's a price I think the people would be willing to bear. It's worth it to break up yet another protection racket.

4/14/2008

Spintronic Hard Drives?

It seems that every time we turn around there's news of technological breakthroughs that appear as if from an episode of Star Trek. New battery technologies that increase battery life by a factor of ten, 'transparent' aluminum, and medical imaging that rivals what even ten years ago would have seemed miraculous will soon become commonplace.

Goodness knows computer technologies have exploded, making computers ubiquitous, and the functions they perform seem like normal everyday events of which we take little notice. And now there's another that may make computer data storage even bigger while at the same time shrinking the physical size required to store that data. Say hello to spintronics.

Using spintronics--the storage of bits generated by the magnetic spin of electrons rather than their charge--a proof-of-concept shift register was recently demonstrated by IBM. The prototype encodes bits into the magnetic domain walls along the length of a silicon nanowire, or racetrack. IBM uses "massless motion" to move the magnetic domain walls along the nanowire for the storage and retrieval of information.

IBM's goal, based on spintronic patents filed as early as 2004, is to use the same square micron that currently houses a single SRAM memory bit, or 10 flash bits, and drill down into the third dimension to store spin-polarized bits on a sunken racetrack-shaped magnetic nanowire. Using an area of silicon 1 micron wide and 10 microns high, IBM said its first-generation racetrack would store 10 bits compared to one, thereby replacing flash memory. Eventually, it could store 100 bits in the same area, which is dense enough to replace hard-disk drives.

While there are presently solid state hard drives out there, they are flash based, expensive, and cannot hold the amount of data that present hard drives can. They also have a limited number times data can be written to them before they start 'wearing out'. But nanowire spintronic memory may be the basis for high density, high speed, large scale memory that will replace hard drives and reduce the bottleneck represented by electromagnetic-mechanical hard drives we use today. If the technology can be made cheaply and easily enough 'hard drives', if that's what we'll still call them, may storage capacities in the terabyte and petabyte range. That's a thousand to a million times more than drives can handle today.

4/13/2008

Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been quiet around here this weekend because BeezleBub went on a class trip to Quebec. Also, with the rain and melting snow, yard work was out of the question. What yard was uncovered was too muddy to even walk upon unless wearing high boots or waders. I guess we'll have to wait a little longer before tackling spring cleanup...when BeezleBub is back.

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Even during the best of economic times contracting firms must watch their costs and find ways keep their costs as low as possible. Low costs help them when bidding on jobs and allows them to maximize profits.

One New Hampshire contractor found an interesting way to keep his costs very low: all of the construction equipment he used for his business was stolen from other firms. He'd steal them, move them to his business, remove serial numbers and construction firm logos, and repaint them.

If you don't have to make payments on things like bulldozers, trucks, bucket loaders, bobcats, and backhoes, you can keep your costs to a minimum. Of course this means of keeping costs low beggars another question: If the contractor is willing to steal in order to keep his business going, then how trustworthy can he be when dealing with his customers?

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This is just too cool!



(via Theo Spark)

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Also from Theo Spark, the difference between Britain and Canada and how they welcome home their fallen soldiers. It's a stark contrast and shows how much Great Britain has declined.

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Rachel Lucas is making known her displeasure about doing her taxes. Glenn Reynolds thinks we should move Election Day to April 16th, which he believes would make a difference.

I agree.

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These folks really wanted to become American citizens, putting their lives on the line to protect us to do so.

Now that's dedication and commitment, something a lot of illegal immigrants should aspire to.

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It's hard to believe that boating season here in the Lake Winnipesaukee area is about a month away. Once mud season ends and the ice disappears from the lake boats will start appearing at docks and marinas all along the shore. Even though there's still quite a bit of snow on the ground, it is rapidly melting away and, if the Weather Guys™ are right, we'll have temps in the 60's and 70's as we go through the week which will speed the melting even more.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where spring is quickly appearing, the mud is getting deeper, and where the sound of power boats will soon be heard.

4/12/2008

Diplomacy - Different Definitions

I've heard many definitions of “diplomacy”, my favorite one being the ability to say “nice doggie” while reaching for a big stick. It seems everyone has their own definition, with many of the Left seeming to believe it means being remorseful while negotiating our own destruction with our enemies. Or at least they act that way.

Peggy Shapiro at American Thinker reminds us “diplomacy is not the Dr. Phil show.”

The going theory in the world of media psychology is that people need to confront their demons and talk over problems in order to repair relationships. The next logical step is to conclude that what works on the personal level can be applied to the political and that by dialogue, international relations can be brought to a peaceful resolution. So everyone is talking about talking.

Barak Obama promises to launch "a surge of diplomatic talks" and going with the healing relationship theme, the candidate told General David Petraeus that America should "embrace talks with Iran." Talks without preconditions take a page out of the Neville Chamberlain playbook. Chamberlain may have felt that opening his soul to Hitler in Munich cleared the air. On the other hand, Hitler, emboldened by Chamberlain's naiveté invaded Czechoslovakia. Ignoring the historical reality that talks without preconditions lend legitimacy to one's adversaries, that others who have spoken with Tehran were left empty-handed and deceived, and that meeting with no preconditions will leave an American president little to put on the table, Obama persists in his faith in the healing art of conversation.

Ah, yes, Neville Chamberlain. He was the pre-war Prime Minister of Great Britain, who negotiated an agreement with Nazi Germany that guaranteed “Peace in our time.” It wasn't worth the paper it was written on. All this round of diplomacy accomplished was buying time for Hitler, which allowed him to move forward with his plans to expand the Third Reich.

All in all, it was a dismal failure for diplomacy.

Mind you, even Winston Churchill stated “Jaw jaw is better than war war.” But Churchill also understood that sometimes war is necessary. And war is, after all, diplomacy by other means.

Sometimes, our diplomats and head of state will meet with ruthless dictators and partake of a cup tea with thug, all in the name of diplomacy. But that doesn't mean we give in to them or, even worse, set no preconditions for such meetings. Without that condition, all we do is set up circumstances that will have repercussions for us and none for the other side. It's always a formula for disaster, particularly when we're dealing with foreign leaders who think living in the past is just fine...at least for those under their thumb and in their prisons.

American leaders, certainly, can't isolate themselves from dealing with dictators. The world is an ugly place. But diplomacy without any preconditions is fraught with unintended consequences, as Lee Smith, a visiting fellow with the Hudson Institute's Center for Future Security Strategies, wrote in the New Republic.

When the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, visited Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad for tea last year, Assad, "as Syrian dissidents had warned," wrote Smith, "clamped down on opposition figures, seemingly availing himself of the apparently relaxed U.S. pressure." A similar scene played out when Republican Sen. Arlen Specter visited Syria last year. Two dissidents were arrested within 48 hours of his trip.

Either Obama believes his awe-inspiring personality can win over theocratic bigots or, worse, that theocratic bigots are reasonable men. Hubris or clueless, it spells trouble.

Now, we may be a nation sick of a war, but we shouldn't be a nation that emboldens, legitimizes and offers propaganda opportunities to a 12th century-styled theocracy.

I fear that in regards to Barack Obama's pledge to meet with our enemies it is both cluelessness and hubris that leads him to make such a promise. We will gain nothing from those meetings and they will gain everything. The mistake Obama and many on the Left make over and over again is their belief the “theocratic bigots” are reasonable men, just like them. They really don't get it, don't understand that the only thing these men want is all of us dead or enslaved to those same Islamic extremists trying their best to bring back the Caliphate. They aren't reasonable men. If they have to kill 300 million Americans and a like number of Europeans to do it, they will.

In such a case the only talk I want to share with them is a simple declaration along the lines of “Don't screw with us or we'll give you a war you won't believe!” And make them understand that should it come to pass, it won't be a war of the type we fought in Iraq, with precision and with best efforts to minimize civilian casualties. Instead it will be more like what Nazi Germany and Japan experienced during WWII – utter and complete destruction, with nothing but burning rubble where a cities once stood, privation amongst the surviving population, and, after a fair trial, a dance at the end of a hangman's noose for them. That is diplomatic language they do understand.

(H/T Maggie's Farm, for getting me going on this diatribe.)

Homeward Bound

Major Kirk Luedeke, military correspondent for GraniteGrok will be heading home from Iraq soon! The major, from the 4th Infantry Brigade (Dragon Brigade), 1st Infantry Division, and his fellow soldiers will be returning to Fort Riley, Kansas after a 14 month deployment. They were the second brigade to be deployed to Iraq at the beginning of the surge last year.

Job well done, Dragons!

4/10/2008

Pelosi Strikes A Blow Against An American Ally

Every time I think the Democrats might actually understand some of the realities of the world, I am snapped back to reality by their actions or lack thereof.

The latest case of dashed hopes was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's unilateral killing of the free trade agreement between the US and Colombia. The Democrat penchant for protectionism has raised its ugly head. As Glenn Reynolds put it, “Mr. Smoot, meet Mr. Hawley”, a reference to trade protection legislation in 1930 that helped deepen and intensify the Great Depression by making sure trade with the rest of the world all but ceased, which cost millions of Americans their jobs.

The Democratic Party's protectionist make-over was completed yesterday, when Nancy Pelosi decided to kill the Colombia free trade agreement. Her objections had nothing to do with the evidence and everything to do with politics, but this was an act of particular bad faith. It will damage the economic and security interests of the U.S. while trashing our best ally in Latin America.

The Colombia trade pact was signed in 2006 and renegotiated last year to accommodate Democratic demands for tougher labor and environmental standards. Even after more than 250 consultations with Democrats, and further concessions, including promises to spend more on domestic unemployment insurance, the deal remained stalled in Congress. Apparently the problem was that Democrats kept getting their way.

So on Monday, President Bush submitted the bill to Congress over liberal protests, which, under a bargain between Congress and the White House for trade promotion authority, mandated an up-or-down vote within 90 days. Today Ms. Pelosi will make an ex post facto change to House rules to avoid the required vote, withdrawing from the timetable and thus relegating the Colombia deal to a perhaps permanent limbo.

For good measure, the double-cross dismantles the only process that allows any Administration to conduct good-faith negotiations with foreign nations. No one is going to take the U.S. at its word if Congress is going to change the rules when it has second thoughts and renege.

The Dems talk the talk about rebuilding America's image. Unfortunately they don't walk the walk, making sure the image of America they're building is one that says we can't be trusted because Congress, or more specifically, a Democratic majority Congress will make sure any agreement entered into by the President is killed or falls by the wayside. They are trying to take upon themselves a power reserved to the President by the US Constitution – to run foreign policy, including the making of treaties. It isn't the first time the Democrats have tried this, usually to the detriment of the country.

I find it curious that the Dems are willing to repudiate and humiliate our allies, making sure our allies get “the short end of the stick.”

4/08/2008

Even Government Has To Tighten Its Belt

When economic times get tough people tighten their belts a bit and open their wallets less often. The same is true of businesses, cutting back on expenses and costs until business improves. At times, even government tightens the purse strings a bit.

I wish someone would tell this joker about it.

Taxpayers are hurting. They have to cut their own budgets to deal with the rising cost of food and fuel, and many are experiencing reductions in their income. [Manchester, NH School Superintendent] Aliberti's position is: Tough. You have to pay more because I refuse to cut spending.

School budgets cannot be immune from downturns in the economy. They have to face economic reality just as the rest of us do. And the reality is, the city doesn't have the money to provide the same level of funding it has in the past. So the schools have to make do.

I think maybe it's time for the taxpayers to show this jerk the door. It's the taxpayers footing the bills and it's about time this fellow realize they have nothing left to give. The piggy bank is empty and the schools will have to bite the bullet, just like everyone else.

UPDATE 4/9/08: The joker responds.

Frankly, I am not surprised. Every other department in the city is expected to cut expenses, yet somehow this fellow thinks the schools are inviolate.

4/07/2008

Crossing The Aisle

The saying goes that a Conservative is a Liberal that was finally mugged by reality. I know of many former liberals who made the decision to cross the aisle after much thought and deliberation, the conversion usually triggered by some event or series of events that turned their beliefs upside down. Sometimes it's a disaster. Sometimes it's something that affects their family. And sometimes it's the actions of those they thought were like-minded, but turned out to be something reprehensible. It's something former Democrat David Mirsky decided to do something about.

On the day of this year's New Hampshire primary, I made a decision to leave the Democratic Party and become a Republican. This was no minor event for me, as in 2006 I had run for public office as a Democrat, and before that I had a history of involvement in Democratic Party politics. But I was the kind of Democrat who supported Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut for President in 2004.

Faced with the potentially destabilizing events wrought by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists against our country on Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush resolved to remove from the world picture the most dangerous political figure in the world at that time. Saddam Hussein was a dangerous leader of a country that had the capacity to wreak untold destruction upon the world. He was dangerous in the same way that Adolf Hitler was dangerous: he was prone to commit atrocity on a large scale.

We cannot even imagine the untold amount of suffering and despair that would have been avoided had Adolf Hitler been removed from power prior to his rampage against the world. In the case of Saddam Hussein, his own path toward world destabilization was already well known at the time he was removed as a threat to world security. We can never know what would have happened if the Sudetenland had been defended instead of sacrificed in the name of peace. But we do know that we cannot now go back and prevent the internment and massacre of six million innocent civilians.

We will never know what was avoided by removing Saddam Hussein from power. But we certainly have a record of the atrocities he committed while he was in power. And it is indisputable that after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, our nation was in a vulnerable state. Our enemies in the world were undoubtedly lying in wait to see whether the United States would have the will to respond. It was a moment in time in which America was faced with opportunity to choose between freedom and surrender.

Many liberal thinkers were counseling surrender, as they do to this day. Surrender would have come in the form of a response based on seeking to understand the purported "grievances" of our adversaries.

In this case, the call to surrender to an intractable enemy was the breaking point, causing the former liberal to repudiate his party. He saw that they were no longer working in the best interests of our country, nor the men, women, and children making their homes here. He saw that they so hated America, blaming every perceived wrong on America, that he could no longer associate himself with a political party and ideology he'd grown up with.

It also illustrates a message that has become all too true over the past few decades: The extreme Left in the Democrat Party does not have your best interests at heart.

4/06/2008

Thoughts On A Sunday

Spring weather has finally made an appearance, with daytime temps in the 50's and the occasional 60's to be seen during the upcoming week. The deep snows are melting away and more bare ground can be seen with every passing day. Unfortunately much of that bare ground is muddy, which means we have entered yet another one of the seven seasons of northern New England – Mud Season.

BeezleBub and I saw more than our share of mud yesterday at the dump. We barely made it in and out, the mud was so slick and deep. I think the only thing that kept the trusty Intrepid from becoming bogged down was the snow tires. They had enough traction in the mud to keep us moving where regular all-weather radials would have failed us.

I'll be glad when we get past mud season.

********


It was a fine night out with the WP Parents and Siblings last night, celebrating the birthday of one of the WP Sisters. It's not often all of us can get together for an evening out, so we made the best of it. And, as is usual for nights like this, I overindulged, particularly on dessert. I did pay the price for it, believe me.

********


I've always believed “zero tolerance” policies have been a crutch for the lazy, particularly when it comes to school administrators. It relieves them of having to make a decision and ends up hurting the innocent far more often than not.

The latest example of this is the strip search of a 13-year old girl looking for contraband ibuprofen. Other than the word of another student caught with a couple of ibuprofen tablets, there was no evidence the girl was carrying anything. After searching her backpack and pockets, the vice-principal ordered her strip searched, treating her like a street pusher, making sure she wasn't concealing the contraband in her bra or in her crotch.

This wasn't a girl selling dope on a street corner or on school grounds. It was an honor student with no history of disciplinary problems being treated like drug dealer by the school administrators.

This isn't the first instance of zero tolerance policies gone stupid.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

********


What would you think if you found out the Global Warming faithful may end up causing more harm and destruction through the actions they propose than global warming would cause?

Frankly, it doesn't surprise me in the least. Remember, to them it doesn't matter what's true as long as it makes them feel better about themselves. Hence, their self-righteous attitudes about their cause.

********


At least the anti-war Democrats won't be able to criticize John McCain's support of the war in Iraq because his own son has served with the Marines in Iraq.

(H/T Instapundit)

********


Here's another preview of what health care will be like under a Democratic White House.

********


I use quite a bit of software in my job. One of my biggest gripes about software is the usability, whether it does what it's designed to do, whether it's easy to use, and if there's good tech support of there's problems. Most of the time the answer to those question is yes. But every so often I come across a program that corporate decided we needed to use and find it to be tough to use, have no particular logic to their menus or functions, and require extensive training if the employees are going to even have a prayer of making use of it. I've always thought business software was supposed to make it easier for people to do their jobs, not more difficult. It's time for management to start listening to the users about software and stop forcing software of questionable utility upon their employees. In the long run it's cheaper to do it right the first time.

********


There is a way to be objective about whether a woman is attractive or not – Use a computer.

********


Ed Kaitz writes in American Thinker about the propensity of liberals to use what George Orwell calls doublethink should be a warning. Kaitz warns that the this ability to believe to contradictory things at the same time is something they use to change the definitions we use to describe our thoughts and beliefs. It's something totalitarian societies use to good effect. Do you see the trend here?

********


Rachel Lucas lays a smackdown on cellphone companies, stating quite accurately they treat their regular customers like crap but give new customers all the breaks and deals.

I don't know how they think they can get away with treating paying customers poorly. Any other business would be soon be out of business treating regular customers like that.

********


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the snow is melting away, the mud is getting deep, and Ice Out is only weeks away.

4/05/2008

An Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming

Don Surber has more thoughts about the Global Warming faithful and how their “inconvenient truths” are starting to look inconveniently false.

4/04/2008

Global Warming Theories Suffering Setbacks

Apparently I'm not the only one questioning the claims of those saying global warming is inevitable, it's All-Our-Fault, and that we're all doomed unless we take drastic actions to turn things around. But weather trends over the past 10 years as well as colder than normal temperatures this past winter may be yet another nail in the coffin of anthropogenic global warming.

Incredibly, the BBC has reported that temperatures this summer are also likely to be below normal due to an extended La Niña pattern in the Pacific.

Between recold cold, record snows, snowfalls in places that haven't seen snow in up to a century, and rapid ice formation in both the Arctic and Antarctic, the AGW theory of global warming is showing more and more holes that cannot just be explained away or ignored.

4/03/2008

More Skepticism About Global Warming

I fond it ironic that at the moment the US is negotiating at a UN climate conference in Bangkok, some are truly starting to question the premise that the global warming debate is over. Other's like the US delegation to the conference, are saying many of the proposed 'solutions' to the alleged problems with greenhouse gases are worse than the problems they're meant to correct.

The EU has proposed that industrialized countries slash emissions 25-40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 as part of a global climate pact. The U.S., which is one of the world's top polluters, has repeatedly rejected mandatory national reduction targets of the kind agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol a decade ago.

Harlan Watson, the head of the U.S. delegation in Bangkok, said such hard targets failed to take into account the potential economic impact.

''If you push the globe into recession, it certainly isn't going to help the developing world either,'' Watson told The Associated Press. ''Exports go down, and many of the developing countries of course are heavily dependent on exports. So there's a lot of issues which need to be fleshed out ... so people understand the real world.''

The US could certainly reduce its greenhouse gases by that amount. But it might take the dismantling of the entire economy to do so. That's no solution.

What makes this conference seem as useless as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic is more evidence that we may be entering a period of global cooling rather than global warming. If the slow start of upcoming Sunspot Cycle 24 is any indication, we may be entering a prolonged period of lower solar activity, which in turn will cause a cooling of Earth's climate. Assuming the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans branch of the global warming faithful are partially correct in that our activities have increased greenhouse gases to the point where they have some effect on the climate, then we may not want to take any actions that will prevent the effects of those gases. They may actually help moderate the cooling period and prevent major climate shifts to much colder weather. Much colder temperatures would have a far more devastating effect on climate patterns than a warming trend. Too many people ignore the positive effects of the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods, when global temperatures were about 1.5ºC warmer than they are today. Somehow people have gotten it into their heads that the temperatures and weather patterns their grandparents and great-grandparents experienced were 'normal'.

I'll let you in on a little secret: They weren't. 'Normal' is relative. What is normal to you and me might be considered above or below normal by someone who lived 250 or 1000 years ago. How do we quantify normal? I certainly have no idea.

4/02/2008

Congress Grilling Oil Company Execs

Once again it appears that Congress has decided the oil companies are making too damn much money. Never mind they aren't making any more money than any other business in regards to their profit margin.

But the Congresscritters are asking why they're charging so much for gasoline, diesel, and other fuels. The oil company execs have told them approximately 70% of the price of fuel is the cost of the crude from which the fuels are refined. As crude prices go up, so do fuel prices. There are other costs to producing and delivering fuel as well, like refining, transportation, marketing, R&D, exploration, and taxes.

Taxes are probably the second biggest factor in the costs of petroleum products, and I'm not talking about the federal and state fuel taxes imposed at the pump.

The industry's effective tax rates are in the neighborhood of 40% to 44%. Over the past five years, Exxon Mobil's total U.S. tax bill exceeded its U.S. revenues by some $19 billion.

Individual taxpayers in the US pay nowhere near that amount in income taxes. If they did, there would be a rebellion.

Congress has also threatened to remove $18 billion in what they're calling “subsidies”, which are really tax write-offs for doing what oil companies are supposed to do – explore for more oil. But here's the kicker:

Mr. [Ed] Markey also used the occasion to threaten special tax increases, grilling the executives about $18 billion in "subsidies," which are actually a tax deduction that Congress itself extended to all manufacturers, including Big Oil. And he demanded that the companies commit 10% of profits to renewable energy. (emphasis mine)

So Ed Markey (D – People's Republic of Taxachusetts) is threatening to pull the plug on a tax deduction that every other industry in the US enjoys, and is trying to extort the oil companies into investing in technologies that they are a) already investing in; or b) find are not viable at the present level of technology. Twisting the arm of any industry to force them into investing into some scheme against their will is not the best way of getting any of them to do what you want. Instead they'll spend time and money working to get around those ever so popular mandates rather than using their and their shareholder's money as they see fit, which is the right of any business as long as they aren't breaking the law.

When the oil business is in the dumps, nobody, but nobody wants to waste their time kicking them when their down. But as soon as things turn around, they become the favorite target of those same self-serving members of Congress. Never mind that far too often Congress ends up making things worse for all of us, not better.

This is one time Congress should shut the hell up and take care of far more pressing matters, like cutting the federal budget and eliminating pork. Once they clean their own house, then maybe they'll have the moral high ground. That, and maybe they should take some economics courses.

4/01/2008

A Journal Of Why Vista Really Sucks

One of the commenters to this post in an Information Week blog, chronicled the repeated failures and problems with Microsoft's Windows Vista from the beginning.

There are many signs that M$ is in trouble and that Vista is a failure. This
is going to be a list of those signs. This is what Vista looks like to me. It
is such a flop it can take M$ down, which would put an end to their attacks
on free software, free software advocates and reasonable standards. Vista's
failure is the predicted, practical result of a business model that tries to keep
customers helpless and divided.

The six year development was troubled and expensive. There were signs that
nothing important had changed. Promised features evaporated and those that
came through were downright creepy.

* January 1, 2004 - Jim Allichin sees the future and does not like
it.
* July 9, 2004 - Vista troubles go public, rebuild is promissed
but never delivered as is clear from legacy bugs.
* March 26, 2006 - M$ Employees Revolt over delays. * A buggy launch
was insured and hardware doomed because XP driver
compatibility was intentionally broken just before RTM.
* January 30, 2007 - Vista is officially released. Jim Allchin
retires.

Then came real use and real problems for users: security problems, devices
not working, features dropped, competitors run off and high costs.

* An objective study of the Vista UI shows the changes have made
things worse, not better for users who make it past install, broken
software and hardware.
* Basic operations are broken. File copy, for example, takes
forever and may fail because it can consume all of your memory. Memory
used this way is not released until reboot. IPv6 does not work.
* M$ considers network degradation for media protection normal, so
network performance is about 10% of what you get from XP or anything else.
* Insane anti-piracy harms the innocent. An anti-piracy server
accidently disabled the nicer parts and required all XP and Vista users to
"reauthenticate". Just a few weeks later, M$ made things even worse with a
new BSoD for "pirates". They backpedaled a little and now Vista is nagware
instead of deadware. The system remains a booby trap. So much as changing
a video card will disable your system without warning. People with cracked
coppies laugh but M$ can pull the plug for anyone else anytime for any
reason.
* Business as usual has not improved security. New problems have
been added to the seemingly endless supply of legcay bugs. There are
reports of double extension exploits, a cursor exploit, a an auto proxy
exploit, boot sector viruses and even their random number generator has
serious legacy problems and probably has an NSA backdoor. Microsoft
eventually admits their visible "improvement", UAC, is broken. But
business is worse than usual, M$ locked out and continues to harass other
anti-virus makers.
* Hardware requirements are more wasteful than ever. The voucher
program provides this customer a broken PC and infuriating vendor support.
Vista Capable was not (they knew it at the time, read their email
yourself), and the the 4GB of RAM "sweet spot" obsoletes 95% of existing
computers. Even computers that can take that much memory might not be able
to use it. Later, disk storage recommendations of 1 TB, obsolete
everything.
* Hardware drivers have never been worse. Nine months after
release we still see general flakiness.
* Vista's has insane digital restrictions. HD video and iPod are
broken and other media is restricted, leaving the average user better off
with gnu/linux. Some of this is intentional sabotage of competitors, the
rest reflects the interest of M$'s media pals. The reward for buying
restricted media is to lose it all and have to buy it again.
* Once again, your favorite toys will be broken. Palm did not work
until a July Beta Test. Vista sabotages Google Desktop and Firefox
* The cost of these problems for business user was estimated to be
between three and five thousand dollars per seat, and everyone knows
that's just the start of TCO. Lost work is expensive even if your time and
software cost nothing. Expect a small bonus or a pink slip if your company
is dumb enough to go this way.

The list keeps growing as people report Vista problems and restrictions.
The bottom line is that Vista demands total M$ control of your computer.
On February 2, 2008 a new lowpoint was reached when it could honestly be
argued that Vista is not as good as GNU/Linux for gaming. Yes, Vista is
not even good for gaming.

Then there was rejection and revolt.

* January 10, 2007 - UK schools told to avoid Vista for a year.
Before the year was up, they were advised to use free software instead.
One year later, none of the concerns were addressed and the schools were
again told to avoid Vista and Office 2007.
* February 2, 2007 - BBC calls Vista a threat to internet freedom. *
March 2, 2007 - DOT says no to Vista and IE7 due to cost and
reliability.
* March 2, 2007 - BBC says avoid Vista. * March 3, 2007 - FAA says No
to Vista and considers GNU/Linux
migration. They have already saved millions leaving other M$ OS behind.
* March 10, 2007 - Vendors selling Vista with OSX screen shots. *
March 23, 2007 - A M$ blog lables Vista the " biggest software
development failure of all time", and reveals a raging internal debate
about releasing the not ready code.
* April 20, 2007 - Oracle ignores Windows * April 21, 2007 - XP
Reintroduced by Dell. * April 23, 2007 - Vista firesale due to poor
sales. * May 01, 2007 - Dell Ubuntu Plans Announced * May 16, 2007 -
Vista causes a 4% fall in M$ customer
satisfaction.
* May 20, 2007 - The lack of user enthusiasm is reflected in book
sales and search results
* July 3, 2007 - Dell issues Vista refunds. It takes two emails. *
July 4, 2007 - 87% of home users are aware of Vista but only 12%
of them want it.
* July 17, 2007 - Vista gripes are so numerous they make the
mainstream news. Given M$'s massive advertising budget and willingness to
hold a grudge, the CNN story is remarkable.
* July 20, 2007 Vista and Office have almost no impact on M$
bottom line.
* July 24, 2007 - Number 4 PC maker Acer revolts and expresses
Industry Wide dissatisfaction.
* July 26, 2007 - Dell puts pressure on ATI for better GNU/Linux
drivers.
* July 26, 2007 - Dell is pleased with Ubuntu and plans more of
it.
* July 27, 2007 - New York Times reports Wall Street's lost faith
in M$. Sometimes reason can overcome superstition.
* July 30, 2007 - Vista SP1 slips from 2nd half of 2007 to Q1,
2008. This means that they will miss a second Christmas buying season
because everyone knows that Vista sucks as it is.
* July 31, 2007 - PatchLink Survey shows the vast majority (87%)
of Windows business users plan not to migrate to Vista because there's no
advantage. Seven months ago, more said they wanted Vista but that was
before they knew better. At the same time, Linux migration plans are up
from 2% to 8%.
* July 31, 2007 - CIO describes Windows as something for "niche
business users" only. This has been true for a long time, but a consensus
is finally growing around it because Vista has failed to deliver.
* August 4, 2007 - Straws in the wind, even M$ boosters are sick
of supporting M$ and dread the Vista "upgrade".
* August 6, 2007 - Boom, Lenovo Sells Thinkpads with Suse as they
said they would. The models hit the market, cheaper than those with Vista,
in January of 2008.
* August 8, 2007 - Dell goes worldwide with gnu/linux, and their
stratagist says Vista is more of the same from M$ and it's pushing
business to gnu/linux.
* August 9, 2007 - AMD partners with Suse * August 11, 2007 - Oracle
continues it's move to gnu/linux. * August 14, 2007 - Forbes predicts
GNU/Linux boom. * August 14, 2007 - Big patch Tuesday gives lie to
Vista's security improvement
* August 14, 2007 - 2008 is not the year of Vista for the 2008
Olympics.
* August 15, 2007 - Two more studies show that Big Business is
staying away from Vista
* August 17, 2007 - After nine months of suffering, PC Magazine
Editor in Chief apologizes for being easy on Vista, slams it and steps
down.
* August 23, 2007 - The EIC was not the only person at PC Magazine
or the industry who thinks Vista is not ready. All sorts of writers, bugs
and poor uptake statistics are mentioned.
* August 25, 2007 - A study by Valve shows fewer than 8% of gamers
are using Vista. The company president calls M$'s Vista push a "terrible
mistake".
* August 26, 2007 - Airbus and Boeing go with Red Hat for
passenger computers.
* August 29, 2007 - The Independent recommends gnu/linux over
Vista
* August 29, 2007 - HP joins the other two big PC makers, Dell and
Lenovo, selling desktop gnu/linux.
* September 1, 2007 - Universities dread a Vista September * September
6, 2007 - AMD goes "open" with ATI. All of the major
chipset makers have their foot in gnu/linux and two of them are free. The
last significant platform performance difference is about to evaporate as
the makers liberate themselves.
* September 10, 2007 - SP1 changes nothing for big IT. Timelines
for rollout at ATF might start in three years. Apparently, it's hard to
fool people twice.
* September 21, 2007 - Less than 2% of UK businesses are using
Vista.
* September 21, 2007 - M$ allows all vendors to sell XP again, but
on a disk, not installed and only as a replacement for the most expensive
versions of Vista.
* September 27, 2007 - Another mainstream news source calls Vista
a failure that could destroy M$.
* September 28, 2007 - Steven Vaughn-Nicholas of EWeek says Vista
is dead.
* October 11, 2007 - Steve Ballmer ambushed by analyst mom who
hates Vista. Ha ha, someone send her daughter some real software.
* October 18, 2007 - DSG blames Vista for $40 million of retail
sales losses.
* October 26, 2007 - An ITWeek writer joins the Vista Sucks
Chorus.
* October 28, 2007 - Vista sales decline, despite back to school
and other firesales.
* October 31, 2007 - John Dvorak says M$ should abandon Vista and
whines that he's going to be a GNU/Linux or Mac user. The sooner the
better, John.
* November 3, 2007 - Analysts reject hype about "strong" demand
for Vista. Demand is not even as good as XP's was.
* November 6, 2007 - Vista is used by less than 7% at home and 1%
at work.
* November 8, 2007 - On it's one year "gold" anniversary Vista is
haunted by 6 year old Macrovision bug.
* November 14, 2007 - With a patch, M$ admits some of Vista's
performance problems.
* November 18, 2007 - Back to school sales of Vista and Office
2007 had no effect on M$'s bottom line. Because sales were down, the
unchanged bottom line may reflect the entire year instead of the last
quarter.
* November 19, 2007 - A new survey of IT professionals shows
overwhelming rejection, 90%, of Vista, 10% are moving away from M$ and 40%
have plans to move away.. Can you hear the sinking ship fog horns?
* November 23, 2007 - Vista SP1 fails to deliver, dooming the OS
for Christmas, perhaps forever.
* November 24, 2007 - HP CEO Hurd says Vista did not make enough
money for HP.
* November 26, 2007 - InfoWorld joins the Vista Sucks chorus. *
November 26, 2007 - Vista makes CNet's worst tech list as number
10. Number 9 is a root kit.
* November 28, 2007 - Another businessman joins the Vista Sucks
Chorus. He complains the OS performs poorly, is annoying and lacks
innovation to such a degree that productivity suffers despite expensive
hardware upgrades. This is what everyone says.
* December 5, 2007 - Resellers note increasing demand for
"Downgrade Rights" which reflects business resistance to Vista and Office
2007.
* December 16, 2007 - Damage control gets ugly as users point out
how big a downgrad Vista is.
* December 17, 2008 - Vista is PC World's #1 most disappointing
tech product of 2007
* January 7, 2008 - Despite deals that made it virtually
impossible to buy a computer without Vista, less than 40% of 2007
computers shipped with it. Makers like Dell broke those deals to stay in
business.
* January 8, 2008 - A two year study concludes that Vista and
Office 2007 should be avoided by UK schools because they expensive,
disruptive and no one needs them.
* January 15, 2008 - Vista is MIA at CES. * January 24, 2008 - Windows
7 hype leads to rumors of panic
attack at M$
* January 24, 2008 - The Motley Fool writes M$ off. * January 30, 2008
- Mythbusters pans Vista and most non free
software practices.
* February 6, 2008 - NEC offers XP beyond official EoL because
business still overwhelmingly rejects Vista.
* February 7, 2008 - George Ou spends the night with SP1 and wakes
up sore. Not even hard core advocates can take Vista.
* February 14, 2008 - Increasingly desperate, M$ starts a lottery
to advertise Vista. Scratch and sniff the questionair, you could win
thousands of dollars worth of TV or a shirt. Remember to donate all of the
shirts to charity.
* February 19 and 29 - M$ dumps dissapearing development tools on
universities and has a world wide Vista firesale to counter Vista's poor
reputation.
* March 11, 2008 - The fat lady sings for Vista as the Wintel
press hypes Workstation 2008.
* March 19, 2008 - As predicted, SP1 fails to deliver performance
improvement, instead it might just crash and destroy your computer.

This story is about over. Graduation and back to school happened and it
did not help Vista sales or boost any real measure. Vista has been
rejected by home users, business users, the mainstream and wintel press.
Investors have begun to question M$'s place in the world and worth.
Because people are listening, I'll mark the next few stories. Christmas
before SP1 should be dismal and SP1's ultimate failure to deliver will be
interesting, but the real story is now the rise of GNU/ Linux on the
desktop.

Software Freedom is the only way to prevent abuses like M$ has pulled over
the years. Faith in source code that can't be seen, modified and shared is
misplaced.

And people wonder why I'm not a fan of Vista.