On Iran 
Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 03:20 PM
The BBC has a rather complementary article on the Bush Legacy. Two of the more amusing paragraphs are here:
And although the president seems to disagree with his own spies, he can at least turn round and say that tough talk has worked - that Iran dismantled its nuclear programme at about the same time as Colonel Gaddafi of Libya fessed up to his weapons of mass destruction, which, I seem to remember, was when Saddam Hussein moved from his palaces into a hole in the ground.

Iraq as a deterrent to unruly regimes? Discuss.


The thing is, there's a time for tough talk and there's a time for moderation. Ever since the NEI came out stating that Iran had dismantled it's Nuclear weapons program, dramatically reducing the threat of military action overnight, Iran has turned internal. This has not been a good thing for their president Ahmadinejad, who is no longer able to distract the populace with rhetoric about "the great Satan" away from the hash he's making of their economy.

The argument here, and it is a rather convincing one, is that by reducing our threat to Iran (and other "rogue" regemes) we deprive the hardliners of their talking points and allow moderates to flourish. The problem is that, despite what some may say, such an approach will only work in certain situations. For example, if Ahmadinejad was an economic genius and a hardliner, his support might not be erroding quite so rapidly and tough talk might be the only option to keep him in line.
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Kristol Redeems Himself 
Monday, January 21, 2008, 02:55 PM
I'm not a big fan of Bill Kristol; some of his more extreme statements have caused me to lump him in with other conservatives who seem to do more harm than good to the cause of advancing true conservative principles. Both those on the extreme left and extreme right have a habit of stridently repeating the same, unhelpful talking points while operating in a reality vacuum (I'd include Kos in that category). Rather than using their stature to advance and advocate innovative solutions or ideas, they repeat the same unoriginal rants that their base finds so soothing.

Kristol, in his latest column over in his new home at the New York Times, puts something I've never seen before in an op-ed column: poetry. The poem, Invictus by William Ernest Henley (and recited to him in part by John McCain), reminded me once again of the pleasure of poetry and why this disappearing art should be returned to its rightful place in the high school curriculum. Because it's so beautiful, here is the poem in full:
Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of Circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.


Kristol ends his column with these two paragraphs:
Yesterday, on “Fox News Sunday,” using his most up-to-date talking points, Romney claimed to be an outside-the-Beltway candidate, by contrast with John McCain, “who has been in Washington all [his] life.”

Romney might have paused before charging McCain with being a prisoner of Washington. In the late 1960s and early 70s, while Romney was a missionary in France and a law and business student at Harvard, McCain wasn’t living the good life here in the nation’s capital. He was “tied up at the time,” as he once reminded the audience in a Republican candidates’ debate, tied up and perhaps reciting to himself lines from “Invictus.”

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FCC Investigates Comcast 
Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 01:42 PM
As detailed by Slashdot, the Federal Communications Commission is investigating Comcast for its filtering of BitTorrent internet traffic. Essentially Comcast forges an RST packet from your computer, telling the computer you're connected to that you're no longer interested in exchanging data; Comcast also forges a packet from the computer you're connected to and sends it to you. Comcast has been known to blatantly lie in denying this Internet filtering, but the phenomenon has been sufficiently well documented that the FCC has finally taken notice.

The FCC case is currently open for comment; if you are a Comcast subscriber or if you're simply upset by the idea of a major ISP falsifying data so they can pretend you sent it I recommend you comment (click on submit a filing in the right hand links). The proceeding number is 07-52, and the form is extremely easy to use - it will take less than five minutes of your time. My own comment can be found here.
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Summing Up the Past Few Years 
Thursday, January 10, 2008, 04:51 PM
A great quote from a spectacular piece on this season's American primary politics, out of the British magazine The Economist (sometimes I think they're better at our politics than we are):
Sure, they are desperate for "change": with the economy reeling, politics gridlocked, young people dying in Iraq and the Bush administration a global byword for callous incompetence, huge numbers of Americans have long believed their country is on the wrong track. But what sort of change? And who can deliver it?

What caught my eye at first was the phrase "...the Bush administration a global byword for callous incompetence..." That perfectly sums up my biggest complaint against the Bush administration: incompetence, and their spread of it from political appointees into the ranks of the civil service through politically motivated, nepotistic appointments in jobs that didn't used to be politicized.

I was also caught by the query regarding change. Yes, there's a general consensus among many that change is desperately needed, but would wager a fair amount of money that among all the change-supporters there is a wide disparity in opinions on what that change consists of.

Executing "change" -- whatever that means -- is the second question, which brings me back to Bush administration incompetence. Certainly part of that incompetence was borne out of arrogance, but I believe a significant portion of it is the result of inexperience on the part of the chief executive. The man squandered the first 40 years of his life, and other than one and a half terms as governor had little accomplishments of note. Now we have the freshman senator Obama who, although with starkly different policies, talks about restoring faith in government, hope, and speaks against "being disagreeable" -- words and themes that seem strangely familiar (remember 2000's candidate of compassion, dignity, bipartisanship, and no nation building). To back this up is a sparse record, one made even more threadbare by his habit of missing or abstaining from politically controversial votes during his time both as an Illinois and United States senator.
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Buttons 
Wednesday, January 2, 2008, 10:13 PM
The pajama bottoms on my new Target pajama-bottoms-and-robe set have a button fly. So now, to avoid peeing on myself, I have to unbutton my pajama bottoms and then my boxers. Sweet.
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Death 
Friday, December 28, 2007, 10:18 AM
Currently on my way to southern California to attend a memorial service for the mother of a very good friend of mine, the mother of a man who I've known my entire life. What do you say in a situation like that? I've known her and her son for years and yet despite so many pleasant memories I can manage only the feeblest of words.
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Dreams and Such 
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 11:14 PM
Babe
Oh, dream about me
Lie... on the phone to me
Tell me no truth
If it is bad
There's enough in my life
To make me so sad.

Just dream about
Color fills our lives
Just dream about
Someone else tonight.

Babe
Oh, dream about me
On the phone
Talking quietly;
I wanna be yours
Oh, won't you be mine
Against red skies
For all time.

So dream about... us
When we're old
Just dream about
How I will let go.


From Moby's song Dream About Me.
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Baby 
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 07:51 PM
I just watched an ad that talked about an exchange of "poker night" for "boys night in" with pictures of a father playing with his children. The soft focus ad ended with the line "having a baby changes everything."

Scary, like they're trying to frighten people into not having children.
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Blog Update 
Saturday, November 3, 2007, 06:49 PM
Blog update to address security vulnerability.

Also, read in the New York Times that Mike Huckabee, a Republican presidential contender I was warming up to, opposes the Law of the Sea Convention. I did some more research and the mind-blowing ignorance, half-truths, and downright lies being told by opponents got me quite worked up. As a Coast Guard officer and someone who deals with Law of the Sea issues on a daily basis it's frustrating that people are getting so worked up based on half-truths regarding a treaty the United States really needs to enter into. Let's put it this way: the Coast Guard, the Navy, Chevron, and Greenpeace all support the treaty. I'll write about the actual issues in more depth when I get a chance, but I wanted to put something short down while I remember.

Mr. Huckabee's opposition may win him some points among those who are easily excited by buzzwords but have little use for actual facts, but it's a deal breaker for me.
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Listen to British People Talk 
Thursday, November 1, 2007, 08:51 PM
Strangely entertaining.
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