Thursday, October 09, 2003

Goodbye, Blogspot 

This is my last post on this blog...because I have decided to move to my own domain. Please click this link to go to king-of-fools.com. If you have a link to this blogspot blog, now would be a great time to change that.

Blogspot is not that bad of a service for the price. If I was paying for it, I would be dissatisfied, but for free it was a great starting point. My main reason for moving is to use Movable Type as well as eliminate downtime. If king-of-fools.com is not working for you yet, I apologize. The DNS update should be complete by Friday.

Again...Go here:

The King

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Free Reading Material 

Bored? Need something to help pass the time or battle insomnia? Try these:
The Carnival of the Vanities, where people submit their best posts.

The Bonfire of the Vanities, where they submit their worst.

Kindergarten, for Men 

Is this a passing oddity or an emerging trend? Only time will tell:
BERLIN (Reuters) - German women fed up with their partners' grumbling on weekend shopping trips can now dump them at a special kindergarten for men offering beer and entertainment.

"The women are issued a receipt for their partners when they hand them in and can pick them up again when they return it to us later," Alexander Stein, manager of the 'Nox Bar' in the northern city of Hamburg told Reuters on Tuesday.

The men are given a name badge on arrival and for 10 euros ($11.80) they get two beers, a hot meal, televised football and games.

Stein said the idea for the Saturday afternoon men's creche, or "Maennergarten," came from a female customer who thought it would be a good way of getting shot of her husband so she could shop in peace.

"She found it all too stressful and thought this might be the solution. Both were very happy with the way it turned out.

"Last week the men had a remote control car to play with. Next week there's going to be a mini racetrack," said Stein.

They are also offering a drilling workshop.

"It beats sitting around in shoe shops, that's for sure," one man told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

The funniest part of the whole thing is the name badge and the receipt which is required to collect your man. What would happen if some woman would (accidentally!!!) lose her receipt?

Acidic Commute 

Houston drivers are facing a difficult commute this morning:
About 4:30 Wednesday morning, the driver of an SUV lost control of his vehicle during a tire blow out and struck the 18-wheeler carrying Hydrochloric Acid.

The 18-wheeler rolled on its side, spilling the load of hazardous material on the northbound side of Interstate 45. The spill has closed the northbound side of I-45, the HOV lane, and the northbound feeder of I-45.

HCl is a pretty nasty substance. Hazmat teams are working on the problem, but how do they deal with this kind of problem? Do they actually remove the acid or just use a base to neutralize it? If they do neutralize it, what is the resulting product and how do they deal with that? The news will undoubtably inform the city when the clean-up is complete, but it is doubtful that they will explain what it takes to pull it off.

Dems Need to Forget the Recall 

Hugh Hewitt is spot on once again in this Weekly Standard article:
WITHIN MINUTES of the release of exit polls from California last night, Democrats had wheeled as one and began the hopeless attempt to spin the disastrous verdict. Senator Dianne Feinstein led the charge, but the refrain echoed throughout the party: This was a verdict on Davis's handling of the budget, a handling very similar to the fiscal mismanagement on the national level.

Howard Dean had the message on his website 18 minutes after the polls closed:

'Today's recall election in California was not about Gray Davis or Arnold Schwarzenegger. This recall was about the frustration so many people are feeling about the way things are going. . . . Tonight the voters in California directed their frustration with the country's direction on their incumbent governor. Come next November, that anger might be directed at a different incumbent . . . in the White House.'

The comparison of Grey Davis to Bush is a very interesting tactic. The Democratic party defended Grey and all his policies to the end, but now that he has fallen, they have completely reversed themselves. Now they are proclaiming that Bush's policies are horribly flawed just like those of Davis and 2004 is not really a Presidential election but actually a recall election. I guess when life gives you lemons...try to put a sour face on your opponent too. What is interesting is the potential result from this strategy:
This delusional spin is great news for Republicans across the country. Gray Davis was booted from office because he imposed a massive tax hike on all California drivers while fecklessly allowing illegal aliens to get drivers' licenses. Davis was all Clinton-Carville when it came to the politics of personal destruction, and he didn't bother to disguise his total dependence on Sacramento's iron triangle of special interests: Indian gambling, trial lawyers, and public employee unions.

All of which is obvious. But when Democrats reflexively reject even the obvious conclusions, they demonstrate a capacity for political suicide reminiscent of Britain's Labour party in the late '70s and early '80s. The refusal of Dean and other senior Democrats to understand Tuesday's vote is an almost certain indication of electoral disaster ahead.

So far, everything out of the Presidential challengers has been the anti-Bush platform. "If he is for it, we are against it." It will be interesting to see if this changes at some point - possibly once someone wraps up the nomination.

UPDATE: Weintraub makes a similar observation:

Several of the Democrats I spoke to were in strong denial about the message sent by the voters, the message being that they, and Davis, have been poor stewards of state government. They see this is an isolated event, a venting, that will quickly pass while they fight to maintain everything they have done the past five years. My gut tells me they are wrong, that there is something deeper here, a desire for fundamental change in the way the state does business and in the way politics works, or doesn’t work, in California.
(Hat-tip to Instapundit)

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Hard Disk 'Airbag' 

Here is a fascinating new development from IBM engineers:
The world's first laptops incorporating automatic protection against the damage caused by a drop have been launched by US computer maker IBM.

The new ThinkPad systems use an onboard accelerometer to detect a sudden fall. If an impact seems imminent, then within a tenth of a second the computer's hard drive stops writing data and the read/write head is retracted to a safe position.

This is a pretty amazing idea. Anything to prevent the dreaded "low altitude read" which is so hard on the disk surface, not to mention the read/write head. Sometimes it feels like very large companies such as IBM have lost the ability to innovate. This is a good sign that the corporate culture is not stifling creativity.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Current Project 

You may have noticed that I haven't been blogging much lately. There is a good reason for that. I am currently working on a hosting solution which will allow me to move off of BlogSpot and onto my own domain. I am also working on a site redesign and have developed some extremely cool Movable Type templates.

My new URL will be king-of-fools.com but please don't go there yet...

Saturday, October 04, 2003

French Missiles 

Does this news really surprise anyone?
FRENCH-made anti-aircraft missiles built earlier this year have been found in Iraq.

Government officials in Paris were last night struggling to explain how, despite a UN arms embargo being in place for more than 20 years, hi-tech French weaponry made its way to Baghdad.

The sale of French missiles to Iraq at a time when Saddam Hussein was trying to bolster his defences against the looming US invasion threatens to derail efforts to repair the diplomatic damage suffered as a result of Paris's refusal to support military action.

France opposed U.N. involvement in Iraq and President ChIRAQ stands in opposition to the new resolution to rebuild the country. With this new find, it is as clear as ever who France is allies with.

UPDATE: It appears that the Poles were mistaken. It also appears that there is some bad blood developing between France and Poland.

Friday, October 03, 2003

The Council has Spoken 

The Watcher's Council has met and has voted on the posts of the week:

   Winning Council Entry:
    Money is NOT the Answer! by Alpha Patriot

   Winning Non-Council Entry:
    Michael Moore's Call to Arms by Brain Terminal

The Indecisive Executive 

Something is happening with the Bob Graham campaign, but no one knows exactly what:
Initially, the Graham campaign announced a news conference for 2 p.m. Friday, suggesting he would quit the race
Ok. Bob Graham is quitting the Presidential race.
But late Thursday, the campaign and the Florida Democratic Party said there would be no news conference.

"Senator Graham has decided to soldier on," said Florida Democratic Party Chairman Scott Maddox.

Maybe not. In the spirit of Strong Mad, he is going to "keep it going".
At least one staffer left amid the speculation about Graham's future.

"This was just the right time for me to move on," said Jamal Simmons, who served as spokesman for the campaign.

Hmmm. His campaign spokesman has quit - maybe he really is leaving the race!
Graham, leaving one of several staff meetings, said, "We'll make a decision shortly."
I understand now. He just hasn't decided yet.
Graham called off a fund-raiser Thursday night in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Spokesman Paul Anderson said Graham canceled the event in hopes of making a Senate vote.
Canceled fundraiser? He is definitely quitting.
A Friday evening fund-raiser in West Palm Beach will still go on, Anderson said.
What? Why continue to raise funds if you are quitting the race?

I think the entire Bob Graham campaign only leaves one possible conclusion: This man (running for president or not) does not have the decision making capability required of any executive position. Running or not, he is already out of the race. What is not known is if it will take him as long to decide to quit as it took him to decide to run?

Flying Dinars 

New Iraqi Dinars are being flown into the country and guarded by troops from Fiji:
CARGO flights are ferrying Iraq's new currency into this northern airbase daily in preparation for its launch later this month, a senior US military officer said today.

He said the new dinar banknotes were being guarded by a contingent of Fijians in a remote corner of Camp Qayyarah, 350 kilometres north of Baghdad, which was once used by ousted president Saddam Hussein's airforce.

"That's affirmative, the currency is being delivered here and looked after by the Fijians but it's a separate operation and has nothing to do with us," the officer, from the 101st Airborne Division, told AFP.

The old dinar, with Saddam's smiling face etched upon it, is destined for the dustbins of history within the next two weeks.

Additional information on how the dinars will be phased in is here:
On 15 October, new Iraqi dinar banknotes will be available. They will replace the existing Iraqi “print” dinars at parity. After 15 October there will be three months to swap the existing notes for new ones.
Of course, if a person was interested in a "Saddam dinar", the are still available...at least on Ebay.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

The Disenfranchisement of the U.N. 

It appears that the sovereignty of the U.N. has been snubbed, and the Secretary General is not taking it sitting down:
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday a new U.S. draft resolution on Iraq does not follow his recommendation for a quick transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government.

A quick transfer would facilitate the United Nations' work in Iraq and make it easier for other countries to contribute troops and money without having to go through the U.S.-British occupation authorities.

The revised resolution endorses a step-by-step transfer of authority to an Iraqi interim administration but sets no timetable for the handover of sovereignty and leaves the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in overall c control until elections are held at some future unspecified date.

So Mr. Annan is complaining because his own suggestions for Iraq are not being followed. If his recommendations were followed back in early 2003, the regime of Saddam Hussein would still be in power and would still be doing this. It is not entirely clear why he thinks his ideas would carry weight with the United States and Great Britain, since they violated the U.N. Charter when they liberated the people of Iraq.

It sounds like the Secretary General is just trying to find a way to legitimize himself. After all, his primary claim to fame are the diplomatic relations he had with Saddam Hussein in 1990, again in 1998 and finally (and most unsuccessfully) in 2003. The U.N. does need to find a new cash cow to replace the Conflict of Interest (also known as the Oil-for-Food program) program which is going away in November.

Or perhaps the U.N.'s demand to control all humanitarian aid in Iraq is to protect themselves. They may want to just roll the existing Oil-for-Food program into a new Iraq Humanitarian program. This would be much superior to actually closing the books on the largest of all U.N. programs because the books are starting to look a little Enronesque:

With less than two months until the UN is due to hand over control of Iraq's multi-billion dollar oil-for-food programme to the US-led coalition in Baghdad, US officials say they have yet to ascertain exactly where all the money is.
Any readers interested in the differences between the two draft resolutions can find details here.
UPDATE: Not wanting to miss the whine festival, the French have gotten into the act as well:
France has criticised the United States' latest draft resolution on the future of Iraq, saying it does not deal with its concerns.

"The revised text does not address our wishes," France UN ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said after the Security Council met to discuss the document.

Remember the French? They are the folks who voted against any type of action against Saddam Hussein, and most likely engaged in illegal trade with a sanctioned Iraq. They profited greatly from the oil-for-food program and balked about lifting those same sanctions once Saddam was deposed (although they did grudgingly agree in the end).

The Iraqi people have been rejoicing for 8 months that the actions of the Coalition did not address the wishes of the French.