This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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July 2003
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Justice Department Defies Court

If they didn’t want to comply, justice should have dropped the charges themselves to avoid the need. But for outright violating the courts order, not only should the case be dropped and Moussaoui set free, but the Justice Department officals responsible should be charged with contempt of court and sent to the slammer themselves.

Story on cnn.com

The Justice Department on Monday refused a federal judge’s order to allow accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui access to a captured al Qaeda leader because it would damage national security.

If there is real evidence against this guy, and it certainly seems there is, then he should in fact go to trial, be convicted if the facts weigh out the case, and then he should be sentenced appropriately. But the man is entitled to a full and fair trial. Which means he should have access to *all* evidence against him that the prosecution intends to use, and he should be able to have access to any potential evidence or witnesses that might be able to provide evidence to clear him. If the government feels it is unable to prove its case in open court, with full defense (and accused) access to evidence, then it can’t make the case, and needs to let him go.

Now they are directly defying the authority of the court? Even after already losing appeals several times? Who do they think they are?

Checking for DirecTV with the Moon

I just did this a couple weeks ago at the potential new place. I was a few minutes off on the time I looked outside, but it looked pretty clear, so I think I am good. Which makes me happy. But some guy was having the same problem, so I thought I’d try to help and answered the thread.

TivoCommunity Thread on Tools to Check Dish Placement

I pointed the guy at:

http://perso.numericable.fr/~gjullien/satellite.htm

which is the site that actually does the calculations.

Hopefully it is helpful. I love that moon check thing. It is cool. I’ve used it a bunch of times. :-)

Locked Now

Called both Ivan and Rebecca for advice. Ivan said don’t lock cause it might go down again before closing, and probably wouldn’t go up again. Rebecca said lock because it would give me more piece of mind and make one less thing for me to worry and stress about. Rebecca also recommended not paying any points, because it would take 6 years to break even with that, and who knows if I will stay that long, plus I will need the cash NOW for various things I’ll find I need when I move in.

I decided to go with Rebecca’s advice. Ivan’s might make more sense in raw financial terms. But Rebecca’s also takes into account soft fuzzy emotional factors. I didn’t really want to sell any more stock than I already had to finance this house thing, plus I *will* need the cash. As it is I’m thinking I will be pretty tight for the rest of the year.

Paying the points back down to where it was would cost the same as the fridge I need to buy plus the vacation I plan to take, plus the cost of moving. At least. If I paid points, I’d still have to do something to take care of the rest of that. So screw that. Long term it may make better sense. But short term it does not.

Having said all that, I’m still pissed at myself for not having paid closer attention and locked a couple weeks ago instead of now. And I’ll be pissed at myself again if rates do go back down like Ivan thinks they might. But oh well. Locked and loaded now. I don’t have to worry about it any more.

OK. Back to work stuff again. And I have to fax one last paper related to this lock back to the mortgage people. But I am locked now.

But I should have done it last week. Let me slap myself in the head a few more minutes. :-)

Damn Rates!

So this morning on the way to work I see a story on CNBC that mortgage rates are starting to go up again. Damn! I had expected them to basically stay flat, or maybe, just maybe, drop one more time before my closing. So I called Brandy to get my lock in NOW. But my rate had already gone from 5.375% to 5.75%. Which translates to an extra $50 a month or so for me. To buy it back in points at closing would cost me 3 grand or so. To do that I think I would have to sell stuff I don’t want to sell. But maybe it would be worth it. Poo. I’ll probably buy back at least half a point. Gunna run and check my finances real quick, then sign the lock in paper work. This blows. Should have locked in a week after the last fed rate once it was clear the mortgage rates were not going to drop because of that. Poo.

Air!

Stopped by at home on the way between offices for work. Just needed to pick up something here. The AC repair guy was just leaving. Cleaned the filters and recharged the AC, and supposidly now it will cool the place to 68. Of course they left it turned off. I just turned it on. We’ll see if it works. If so, it will be the first time my place has been below 77 degrees in almost four weeks! It will be nice for it to be a decent temperature for the last month I’m here!

Paint?

Just had lunch with Joe & Chu from work. Joe says between closing and moving in on the new place, I should paint and stuff. I hadn’t even thought of that possibility. I don’t think I’m going to. Don’t want to spend the time and money on that sort of thing right away. On the other hand, it will be an empty house… Dunno.

14:08 UTC

Yeah, I didn’t make it. Didn’t try all that hard. If I had really wanted to, I might have been able to if I skipped my shower and such and just got dressed and ran out the door as fast as humanly possible. But I didn’t. I took my time. And I put away some laundry and tidyed up the place a bit before I left. And other stuff like that. Also, instead of going in to my office in the close building, this was a day for me to go to our other building, so I drove further. Could have stopped at the first building just to pay less, I passed it at 13:44, which would have been $5. But my first meeting was in the second building, so I kept driving. Got to the desk here at 14:08. So $7. Bleh. There goes this being the last week of this!

Oh well. Time to work now. I”ve been fighting with the stupid old laptop I have here for work for the last half hour. Finally have it all rebooted and operational. Meeting in 20 minutes. I’ll get ready for that and clear out some simple work email.

Yawn

Well, alarms started going off at 10:30. But I didn’t actually leave the bed until 12:20. In theory it might be possible to make it by 13. But the chances are VERY slim. Oh well. Suppose I should try. Yawn!

Hours

My normal work hours are 14:00 UTC to 22:00 UTC. But most people where I work tend to get in at 13:00 UTC. (During the summer anyway, in the winter everybody comes in an hour later. They do that goofy savings time thing here.) Anyway, it seemed like coming in an hour earlier at 13:00 UTC would be a good thing for me.

So a couple months ago I made a bet with Kelly from work as a technique to motivate myself. I would pay her a dollar if I got in after 13:00 UTC, and an additional dollar for every 10 minutes beyond that I got in. So, for instance, if I came in at 13:43 UTC, she’d get five dollars. This would go on until I did an entire week getting in before 13:00 UTC.

This has not gone well. I’ve ended up giving Kelly money almost every day. Maybe once a week or so I’ll not have to. Some days I’ve had to pay up to $12. Kelly is now planning a vacation to Mexico financed by me being late. This is not good.

So this week I am planning on doing the week on time, to end this thing. OK. Good.

Problem. OK. To get in at 13, I need to have my alarm set to 11 to give me time to hit snooze a few times, get up, get ready, and get to work. OK. Fine. That means to have a decent nights sleep I have to be asleep by 3 UTC. Urgh. For me that is horribly early. I almost never get to sleep before 5 UTC. And it is often later.

So today at 3 I started thinking about sleeping. At 4 UTC I actually turned off the lights and tried to sleep. I failed miserably. By 5 UTC I had given up and was surfing the web, answering email and making a couple posts here (my latest distraction). It is now after 7 UTC. I am finally starting to feel sleepy. But now I have to get up in only 4 hours.

I doubt my willpower to actually get up when the alarm rings. My first meeting today is actually not until 15 UTC. In my little brain I know I don’t HAVE to be at work until then. Even though 13 is my goal. And I will be sleepy and not fuilly concious and rational, and I will want to sleep.

But I should try. This daily cash outflow needs to stop! I am buying a house after all! But I will keep my word on my little bet. I need to be in by 13 for a full calendar week to get out of this. I’ve got to try.

Of course, to do that, I should stop writing, and try to sleep again. I think I will do that now.

So Self Deluded

This story is pretty disturbing, although it basically says things we knew before. Basically Rumsfeld and the Pentagon were so self-absorbed int heir own vision of things that they were completely blinded to contrary input coming from elsewhere. And not just from the “opposition” but by the State Department and CIA.

AFP on Yahoo News

Pentagon planners failed to develop detailed plans for postwar Iraq because they were convinced Iraqis would welcome US troops and that a hand-picked exile leader would replace Saddam Hussein and impose order.

Postwar planning documents from the State Department and the CIA were “disappearing down the black hole” at the Pentagon, a former US official was quoted as saying.

For example, the Pentagon ignored the “Future of Iraq” project, an eight-month effort by the State Department involving 17 agencies and dozens of exiled Iraqi professionals.

Officials in the Pentagon’s Near East/South Asia bureau, which houses the Office of Special Plans, were told to ignore State Department views, according to Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who retired from the bureau July 1.

This is just one more example of this kind of thing coming from the Rumsfeld/Cheney/Wolfowitz worlds. They seem to pop up almost every day.

I hope W will learn from these fiascos and spend a bit more time listening to Powell, and less time listening to these wackos. Although so far, that does not seem to be the case. W seems to be one of the wackos himself, or at least controled enough by them that it doesn’t matter.

(via History News Network)