Archives: August 2006

Wed 30 Aug 2006

Fizzle



Ernesto has fizzled. We're down to about a 25% chance of tropical storm froce winds... and that was as of the 13 UTC update... over six hours ago. Gathering from reports on the radio and one email we got from someone in the area, it is likely to be far lower than that at this point.

So hopefully we're all good. Just a normal summer thunderstorm.


Abulsme - Wed, 30 Aug 2006, 12:26:18 PDT
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Tue 29 Aug 2006

All Tropics, All the Time

I promise I'll get back to other things soon enough.

Here is the latest NHC update of the odds graph though:



No significant chance of hurricane force winds. About a 70% shot at tropical storm force winds though. The only thing we are really worried about with those sorts of winds is the pool screen if a wayward branch gets thrown into it. When we got tropical storm force winds out of Wilma a big branch got thrown into our pool. If the screen had been up then, it would have gotten torn.

This looks like it will probably be a non-event though, which is good.

By comparison, Miami is just about at a 90% chance of TS winds. The South Carolina coast is at about 45%. And there is still about a 5% chance of hurricane force winds in SC.


Abulsme - Tue, 29 Aug 2006, 14:24:58 PDT
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Helpful Voicemail

Got a voicemail this morning on my cell from the insurance company I have home insurance from saying basically "We know you are about to get hit by Ernesto, so here are all the ways to get in touch with us to make a claim as soon as it goes by."

Thanks!

(Actually of course, if there is an issue, this will be helpful, as I frankly wouldn't even remember which insurance company we had without digging through papers trying to find it.)

Anyway, as of the updates at 13 UTC this morning (6 hours ago) we are back to a negligible (less than 5%) chance of hurricane force winds, but the chance of tropical storm force winds has gone up slightly to about 65%.

Hopefully we'll get some rain and wind but no actual damage. Guess we'll know in about 24 to 30 hours. Well, at least whatever is going to happen will have happened. We aren't actually there, so who knows how long it will be until we can get someone to go by and tell us what happened.


Abulsme - Tue, 29 Aug 2006, 11:58:44 PDT
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Mon 28 Aug 2006

Of Course

Of course they updated the charts I like better seconds after I made that last post. Our new odds...



Between 5% and 10% chance of hurricane force winds. Down from before.



And just over a 60% chance of tropical storm force winds.

Odds in Miami and the SC coast are about the same (between 5% and 10%) for hurricane force winds. For tropical storm force winds Miami is more like 78% chance and SC just over 40%.

Anyway, looks like the odds are in favor of our house getting some really nasty weather, but not devastating destruction type weather. Here's hoping "really nasty" turns out to be more like nice fluffy bunnies and not anything we end up having to care about at all.


Abulsme - Mon, 28 Aug 2006, 14:22:32 PDT
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Getting Better

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An improvement. The line is still pretty much directly over our house, but it is now predicted to only be a tropical storm by that time. The last "odds view" published by the NHC is about 8 hours old now, but says we have about a 10% chance of hurricane force winds and about a 60% chance of tropical storm force winds. I'm eagerly waiting for the next update of that view, cause I think it means a lot more.

Not to say that even tropical storm force winds are desireable. We really don't need even minor damage to the house right now given our distance and that we potentially have an almost confirmed deal on the house right now...

I note however that it is supposed to be a hurricane again by the time it gets to South Carolina. Isn't that where Rebecca is on vacation?


Abulsme - Mon, 28 Aug 2006, 14:10:48 PDT
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Insert Four Letter Expletive of Choice

image

I prefer the probability view, but it gets updated less frequently. The 9 UTC NHC Cone update just happened though (a little early), and we're just to the right of the center line. Now, it will have been traveling over land for awhile by then, but it is still an H, not an S, and even a minimal H is not to be sneezed at.

Now, reading the predictions, there is a good chance that it will weaken significantly over Cuba and may end up not being much of anything by the time it gets to Florida... or it may strengthen significantly and actually be a real threat.

Crossing our fingers that either Cuba gives this storm a knockout blow while it goes over and it never gets back up to Hurricane strength, or the track keeps moving east and it ends up missing Florida entirely.

Of course, with the current track my friend Ivan in the Miami area is right on the target line too. So good luck to Ivan too!

Ivan, what's the report from Miami? Does anybody care about this one at all, or does everybody assume it will be a non-event?


Abulsme - Mon, 28 Aug 2006, 01:50:32 PDT
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Sun 27 Aug 2006

More Worried Now

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That's the hurricane bubble this time, not the tropical storm bubble.

We're now at between 5% and 10% chance of hurricane force winds at our old house, and up to about a 35% chance of tropical storm force winds. And of course, we are all the way across the country, and can't do crap to protect it. There is an offer in on the house, but not all the T's are crossed.

Here's hoping Ernesto goes a bit further to the west!!


Abulsme - Sun, 27 Aug 2006, 13:45:39 PDT
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Fri 25 Aug 2006

Ernesto's Bubble

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We're on the very edge of the probability bubble. About a 6% chance that our (as yet still not officially sold) house in Florida will get tropical storm force winds within the next five days. It is far more likely to go much further west though. But we'll be watching it.


Abulsme - Fri, 25 Aug 2006, 14:56:23 PDT
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Thu 24 Aug 2006

AntiTerror

I was going to say something about Pluto, but no longer am inspired. So instead, here is another good article recommending a rational response to terrorist threats. Read it all.

What the Terrorists Want
(Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security)

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.
(via Boing Boing)


Abulsme - Thu, 24 Aug 2006, 21:17:48 PDT
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Wed 23 Aug 2006

Radio Frump

The file is not Mac friendly it seems, so I can't listen to it. But Bob Frump was on the radio Wednesday talking about his new book.

The World: August 23, 2006

Host Marco Werman speaks with author Robert Frump, who's recent book explores the growing death toll among refugees from Mozambique entering South Africa. The cause of those deaths lions in South Africa's Kruger National Park.
Direct link to the audio I can't listen to is here.

Bob has even more at the book's website.


Abulsme - Wed, 23 Aug 2006, 20:14:19 PDT
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Mon 21 Aug 2006

Yet More States!

I should have posted this as soon as I got back from our cross country trip, but during that trip I did add more states to my collection...

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Missouri, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana are new.

Seven states to go.

(Map from World66.)


Abulsme - Mon, 21 Aug 2006, 20:44:49 PDT
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Falling on the 22nd

I haven't posted in awhile, and on the way to grab some lunch I slipped and fell on the stairs, catching myself with my right arm, which now hurts. So, in honor of that, and not having any news I am ready to report quite yet on the house, I thought I'd just get out my bandwagon joining post wondering if anything "Interesting" will happen tomorrow... which starts in just under 3.5 hours UTC wise, but which started 6 minutes ago in Iran...

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, see articles like this. Basically August 22nd is an important date related to a final judgement of sorts on the Islamic Calendar this year, and because the Iranian president said he would give his answer to UN ultimatums by the 22nd. Because of those two things a bunch of people have been speculating that Iran will do something "big" on the 22nd. Which it now is in Iran, and will be soon in places West of Iran.

Or, it could be nothing at all other than a bunch of folks getting excited about a date.

But if it were real, what could it be? Lets speculate a bit...

#1) Iran launches a full scale invasion of Iraq
#2) Iran starts shooting missles at Isreal
#3) Iran openly tests a nuclear weapon
#4) Big terrorist attack somewhere not clearly linked to Iran, but implied
#5) This is when the blowing planes up thing was supposed to happen
#6) Big party at President Ahmadinejad's house!


Abulsme - Mon, 21 Aug 2006, 13:34:44 PDT
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Thu 17 Aug 2006

David and Sue

My grandmother has recently been emailing me stories for me to keep for posterity, put on my Wiki, etc. Over time I'll get them added to my Wiki. She's sent a couple that were stories of my dad and his sisters when they were young and such, and those are good, but I asked her for more about her and my grandfather specifically. Yesterday she sent this:

I was thinking of our first date...

Dave had no car for several years on the farm. It was 1939 when we met at the Quaker work camp and he was borrowing Gene Cox's car (husband of nurse Lindsey) to make calls etc. So he asked our workcamp counsellors, a young couple Biff and Elsie Jackson with two young boys to take us to a nearby town one evening for a coke.

On the way I was singing some of my favorite folk songs. A Kentucky one "Down in the Valley" for example: "The valley so low, Hang your head over, hear the wind blow. Roses love sunshine, violets low dew. Angels in heaven know I love you."

I think it was that ride that raised the idea of lifetime companions which we were both in search of.

Fast forward to 1991 when Susan and I were with a dying Dave in TMC hospital. He had been in a coma for several days and as I sang that song near his bed he gave a moan. The hearing goes last they say and I am sure he heard the down in the valley tune from that first date.
I'm a sucker for such things, but I can't even read that without misting up.


Abulsme - Thu, 17 Aug 2006, 08:44:37 PDT
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Tue 15 Aug 2006

It Wasn't Me!!!

I swear, I was nowhere near there! :-)

Myrtle Beach Police Department Incident Report (pdf)
(File# 01-06-058085, 15 Jul 2006)

OFFICERS CLEARY AND PRESTON RESPONDED TO 204 11TH AVE. N.,( IN THE CITY LIMITS OF MYRTLE BEACH ) IN RESPONSE TO A REPORT OF AN ASSAULT, WHERE BOTH PARTIES WERE STILL ON SCENE. UPON ARRIVAL OFFICERS MET WITH THE SUSPECT ( SAMUEL MINTER ) AND THE VICTIM ( KAREN JACKSON ). MS. JACKSON REPORTED THAT MR. MINTER AND SHE HAD BEEN ARGUING BECAUSE MR. MINTER HAD BEEN HIGHLY DISRUPTIVE AS A RESULT OF CONSUMING BEER SINCE THE PREVIOUS DAY. MS. JACKSON ALSO REPORTED THAT MR. MINTER THREW A CIGARETTE LIGHTER AT HER AND SAME MADE CONTACT WITH HER UPPER LIP. TWO OTHER WITNESSES ON SCENE CONFIRMED MS. JACKSON'S STATEMENT AND ALL COMPLETED WRITTEN WITNESS STATEMENTS.

MS. JACKSON STATED THAT MR. MINTER HAS BEEN HER BOYFRIEND FOR APPROXIMATELY TWO YEARS AND THAT THE TWO OF THEM LIVE TOGETHER IN FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.. MR. MINTER WAS ARRESTED ON SCENE FOR CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

MR. MINTER WAS HIGHLY INTOXICATED AND HAD DIFFICULTY ANSWERING QUESTIONS. MS. JACKSON PROVIDED MR. MINTER'S FULL NAME AND DATE OF BIRTH. THIS INFORMATION WAS USED TO OBTAIN MR. MINTER'S CRIMINAL HISTORY WHICH SHOWED NO PRIOR CONVICTIONS FOR CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA. MR. MINTER WAS CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, 1ST OFFENSE.

MS. JACKSON DID HAVE A VERY SMALL AREA OF DISCOLORATION TO HER UPPER LEFT INNER LIP, WITH NO SWELLING. MS. JACKSON DENIED MEDICAL ATTENTION. A MYRTLE BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PACKET AND VICTIMS' ADVOCATE PAPERWORK WERE COMPLETED. CORPORAL HUNT WAS ADVISED.


Abulsme - Tue, 15 Aug 2006, 17:25:59 PDT
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Mon 14 Aug 2006

Apprentice Bonnie

image

I am way behind the curve on this, cause this got lost in my old email backlog. I think it happened in March. And it is an annoying flash navigation thing to get to the video, so I can't link to it directly, but...

Go to this page. Then choose "Week 3" on the left of the screen. Then
click on the video titled "Success Demands a Plan B".

The brunette woman standing in front of Donald Trump is my cousin Bonnie.


Abulsme - Mon, 14 Aug 2006, 22:22:11 PDT
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Declan Searches

I knew (or was at least acquainted with) Declan back in college. I happened to catch him on the radio the other day. You can listen to the whole clip here (RealPlayer).

Here is the transcript of the bit where Declan talks:

Careful what you search for
(Janet Babin, Marketplace)

Declan McCullagh with Cnet News dot com got hold of the AOL search records made public on the Internet. He reviewed thousands of anonymous queries. And he believes he could figure out who some of those people are simply by their searches about themselves, their neighborhoods and their relatives. Here's some of what he found.

DECLAN MCCULLAGH: "Things like illegal child porn, incest stories, preteen sex stories, how to get revenge on my ex-boyfriend, dirty tricks for chicks . . ."

McCullagh says few people realize just how much information can be gleaned from their computers.

MCCULLAGH: "If you're using a cable modem or a computer at work it's unique and tied to you for over say a multi-year period. It's as unique as your phone number, and everything you do with that IP address, that Internet protocol address, can be traced back to you."
Now come on... can any of you who knew Declan in college listen to that clip and not have the first thing that comes into your mind be that Declan is not describing searches he found in what AOL released, but rather just his own searches? Um, just me? OK. Never mind. :-)


Abulsme - Mon, 14 Aug 2006, 19:37:38 PDT
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Sun 13 Aug 2006

Proper Perspective

I just destroyed the address book on my computer and once again had to revert to a months old backup. I am very unhappy, and wishing that the house had already sold so I could buy myself a new backup drive and be automatically backing up again, and even better wishing that Leopard was already out so I could fix this with a few clicks in Time Machine. (Cause the .Mac iSync backup of addresses is completely useless.)

In any case, to distract myself from this issue, I just want to note something I came across the other day that I think describes my recent thoughts on the whole no liquids on planes thing. It is an article from the Cato Institute from Fall of 2004. Here is the main gist:

A False Sence of Insecurity? (pdf)
(John Mueller, Cato Institute)

Throughout all this, there is a perspective on terrorism that has been very substantially ignored. It can be summarized, somewhat crudely, as follows:
  • Assessed in broad but reasonable context, terrorism generally does not do much damage.
  • The costs of terrorism very often are the result of hasty, ill-considered, and overwrought reactions.
A sensible policy approach to the problem might be to stress that any damage terrorists are able to accomplish likely can be absorbed, however grimly. While judicious protective and policing measures are sensible, extensive fear and anxiety over what may at base prove to be a rather limited problem are misplaced, unjustified, and counterproductive.
(via Boing Boing)

A little later on in the article:
Until 2001, far fewer Americans were killed in any grouping of years by all forms of international terrorism than were killed by lightning, and almost none of those terrorist deaths occurred within the United States itself. Even with the September 11 attacks included in the count, the number of Americans killed by international terrorism since the late 1960s (which is when the State Department began counting) is about the same as the number of Americans killed over the same period by lightning, accident-causing deer, or severe allergic reaction to peanuts.

Some of this is definitional. When terrorism becomes really extensive, we generally no longer call it terrorism, but war. But Americans seem to be concerned mainly about random terror, not sustained warfare. Moreover, even using an expansive definition of terrorism and including domestic terrorism in the mix, it is likely that far fewer people were killed by terrorists in the entire world over the last 100 years than died in any number of unnoticed civil wars during the century.
The entire article (5 printed pages) is well worth the read. It should be required reading for anybody making policy related to anti-terrorism.

The main truth that rings loud and clear is that FAR more damage is caused by non-sensical overreactions than could be caused directly even in the wildest dreams of the terrorists.

In a true "war on terror" we would be educating ourselves on why terrorism is no more a threat than the increased deer population in our suburbs and therefore refuse to submit to irrational fear. We would not be turning our lives upside down, readjusting all of our priorities, giving up all sorts of civil liberties, compromising our principles AND making air travel increasingly miserable by the day (with only a psychological increase in security, not a real one).

By doing the crazy kind of pseudo-security measures happening at airports worldwide, we end up causing far more damage (just in a different way) than if someone had indeed succeeded in blowing up a plane. The only difference is that damage is diffused over many millions of people over the course of months rather than a few hundred people over an instant. But the damage is just as real. It's just the other kind, being more visible and more concentrated gets more attention. But it shouldn't.

Especially since the types of things we are doing (no liquids on planes) at best only force those wishing to do damage to do it somewhere else, or using a different method. It does not actually STOP anything. Make it hard to bring explosives on a plane? They can blow up the security checkpoint, or a school, or a mall. Or just put the bomb in checked luggage (which is STILL not as completely checked as it should be).

This is not to minimize how horrible even a single death is to the people involved. But when making policy, one has to look at the bigger picture.

And in the bigger picture... with the crazy overreactions we are doing nothing but hurting ourselves in the long run. We are not helping anything.


Abulsme - Sun, 13 Aug 2006, 20:28:50 PDT
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Sat 12 Aug 2006

New Graph: Wake Up Time

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I added a new graph to the graphs section for the first time in months. At some point I'll get back to actually updating the old graphs. Maybe even automating it. But not yet. In any case, the new graph shows the time I get up each day. Click through on the graph to see it better and read more about it. Here are some of the interesting bits though:

  • The moving average is pulled up by about an hour due to weekends, when I wake up considerably later than on weekdays, but also with a lot more variation.  Weekdays are very constrained due to work schedules, weekends are all over the place.
  • Jul 2005 to Oct 2005 I clearly normally got up around 11 UTC.
  • Nov 2005 I started getting up an hour later, around 12 UTC.  This is due to the crazy "fall back" thing that happens.  Everybody starts doing everything an hour later in the winter months than they do in the other months, and I go along with it.
  • In December after I had my offer from my new employer, but before I started at my new job, I got up much later, it was like weekends every day.
  • Jan 2006 to Mar 2006, once I was at the new job, I usually got up around 17 UTC.  That is five hours later than I got up at the old job in November.  Three hours can be explianed by the fact that I am further west and everybody seems to do everything 3 hours later here.  But the other two hours are explained by the fact that my old job had everybody start insanely early in the morning, and things start at a normal time at my new job.
  • In April I started getting up about an hour earlier, about 16 UTC.  This time it is because of the "spring forward thing" where everybody starts doing things earlier in the day again, and I did too.
  • The variability in my wake up time at my new job is much more than at my old job.  This is because each day at my old job started with a meeting that everybody had to attend.  At my new job the mornings are much more relaxed and freeform and nobody cares exactly when you get in.


Abulsme - Sat, 12 Aug 2006, 17:16:59 PDT
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Offer

Just under 9 hours ago we got official word via email from our relocation company that they had sent in the papers which indicated that they accepted an offer on our house. (They way it works is that we sell to the relocation company and the relocation company sells to the actual buyer).

On Wednesday we had gotten the initial offer, and then we spent a couple days negotiating (counter offer and counter counter offer) and making sure everything was in order in terms of knowing just how everything worked with the relocation company.

The number we accepted is no where near what we had hoped before the real estate bubble completely popped in our part of Florida. But it is more than we paid for the place (barely) and we will get a check when all is done rather than write one, and we will get to stop paying the mortgage and utilities in hopefully just a few days, which will mean we will no longer be in a cash flow deficit, which will be a very good thing!

We could have decided to say no and hold out for something better, but given how slow the market is, and the fact that until we sell we are bleeding cash, we decided to just go ahead.

Of course, there is still the inspection yet to go. If anything of significance is found at inspection then all bets are off and this may yet fall through. We of course hope that does not happen.

So... crossing our fingers for a bit longer (up to 10 days)... but we are much closer to having this house sold than ever before.


Abulsme - Sat, 12 Aug 2006, 10:25:58 PDT
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Thu 10 Aug 2006

Order of Operations

You don't "successfully foil" an operation and THEN raise threat levels and put on all kinds of extra security procedures.

If you think an operation is about to happen but you don't know the details and don't have another way to stop it THEN you raise the threat levels.

But if it is was indeed successfully foiled then those steps would be unnecessary because the threat has already been removed.

There is something else going on here today that has not yet been publicly revealed.

Perhaps it is just that they think they caught some but not all of the people involved. Or perhaps there is more. We will see I guess.

But interesting developments today in any case.


Abulsme - Thu, 10 Aug 2006, 02:39:59 PDT
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Tue 08 Aug 2006

One More Lieberpost

OK, only one more on this stuff, then I'll drop back out of talking about politics and such for awhile... Just saw this commentary from Brendan Loy (known last year for his hurricane blogging). It is worth reading the whole thing, including much of the comment thread on the post as well.

Time for a divorce
(Brendan Loy, The Irish Trojan's Blog)

Democrats in my home state of Connecticut have seen fit to give their incumbent U.S. senator, the honorable Joseph Lieberman, the old heave-ho. Get out of our party, the Democratic voters have told Joe. You aren’t one of us anymore. [...] it’s a shot across the bow of moderate Democrats everywhere. [...] Well, if there’s no room in the Democratic Party for Joe Lieberman, then there’s no room in it for me.
(via InstaPundit)


Abulsme - Tue, 8 Aug 2006, 23:03:19 PDT
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War Thoughts and Other Thoughts

The Lieberman thing prompts me to also post some additional comments. Someone who did not want to post emailed me to mention that perhaps this was not about Joe and moderates, but about the war. And yes, that is true. That was the main issue. This particular race was all about that.

But that I think is one of those issues where the moderates are getting pushed out.

The one side: The war was mistake, it is evil and wrong, and we need to get the hell out ASAP (in an orderly fashion), regardless of the consequences.

The other side: The war was the right thing, we replaced Saddam and that is what is important, the critics are unfair, and war is hard and things go wrong, but overall we're doing what we need to do.

And it seems there are very few who try to stay in the area between those positions. There are a few politicians in that middle spot, but they have trouble making the case, cause it isn't simple and balck and white. "War Good" or "War Bad" people get, and tend to pick one. Reality is more complex.

Another complex bit... The House and Senate did *NOT* vote for the war back a couple years ago. (They probably should have, a declaration of war would have been appropriate in this situation if the overall policy of invasion and "regime change" was desired.) The congress very explicitly did NOT do that. What they did do was authorize the President to make his own decision on that topic. (Something which I personally believe is an unconstitutional shifting of war powers from congress to the president, but that is another issue...)

This is a subtle difference. But an important difference. But it is completely ignored. I hear about Senators voting "for the war" all the time. That is not what they did. That pisses me off. Cause even if it the effect it had, even if it was the effect the congress wanted, it is NOT what they did.

Anyway... that was a complete tangent... back to the topic... my own thoughts on this war...

I didn't have this blog at the time, but prior to the start of the Iraq war I remember talking quite a bit to a variety of people about how it was a mistake and we should not do it and such... up until a few weeks before the actual invasion.. at that point I thought we were past the tipping point and it would then cause more damage to shift course than to continue, and then the only choice was to go forward and do the best that could be done with it. I was pissed at W for pushing us there when we didn't need to be there, but at that point, I could no longer feel good recommending we do something else.

Of course then W and Rummy did just about everything wrong that they could possibly do wrong for several years and to this day. It has been a complete disaster. It did not have to be. Even after having made the mistake of pushing us to war when we didn't need to in the first place, it COULD have been handled in a way that if not "good" would have been much better than what happened. BUt it wasn't. It was mismanaged from top to bottom. I used the word hubris a lot back then to describe how the administration was acting. I think the results have been completely in line with that.

But that doesn't mean I think the best way to go at this point is to get out. I actually think that would be an even worse disaster. It might even be better at this point to INCREASE our involvement rather than decrease it. But it may even be getting to the point where it is too late to fix things that way either. I'm not sure. But a rash and premature evacuation would just be a total mess and leave us with even worse problems in the future.

Any way, public opinion overall seems to be slowly shifting to "just get the hell out" and that likely will have a big effect on elections to come over the next few years.

But I still say the people who are most likely to find a "good" result... well, at least "less bad"... are neither the fervent anti-war people or the neo-con apologists. They are the folks in the middle who resist the ideological arguments and just focus on the practicalities of the situation on the ground and try to figure out how to actually work on various issues and find solutions rather than worrying about what fits the party line the most.

Lieberman is one of those folks. There are a handful in both parties. And certainly each of these in SOME areas is just as ideological as the others, and if you took a bunch of them from both parties I don't think they could come up with a set of things they could all agree on... it is less an issue of views on specific issues as one of temperment and pragmatism.

You put a bunch of them in a room and they would probably not agree on much of anything. But they WOULD (given some time) be able to hammer out a compromise that was "OK" for all of them, even though none of them would be completely happy with it.

Contrast this to the types of folks who are taking over both parties... who are partisan and ideological to the core. Put a bunch of them in a room and they will take their respective sides and throw things across the room at each other (metaphorically at least) and they will just snipe and snipe and snipe. And if they were of equal power and number nothing would ever get done. (Which of course isn't always a bad thing. :-) Or if one side had superiority they would just start implementing their agenda without any compromise at all, making the losing side just increasingly spiteful. (A la the Dems today.)

That is what is dangerous. Not the specific views on any one issue, but the move toward increasing polarization rather than reason and compromise.


Abulsme - Tue, 8 Aug 2006, 21:20:15 PDT
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Lieberlost

No in depth commentary, but I just want to say it is a shame Lieberman lost in the primary. It is just another symptom of both parties moving away from the center, with the nut jobs in both camps being more and more in control.

Here's hoping Joe does not get talked out of it and makes a successful run as an independent. There has got to be room in this country for the reasonable, pragmatic centrists. If the people in the center from both parties just got together and started a reasonable third party, I think there would be a large number of people who would go for it.

But of course, Joe will probably be talked out of it, and if he does run he will probably lose, and in all likelihood things will get more and more divided and the moderates will continue to be pushed out.

Oh well.


Abulsme - Tue, 8 Aug 2006, 20:34:50 PDT
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Mon 07 Aug 2006

New Frump Book - With Lions

imageMonday I got an email from a major Internet retailer (with whom I have another relationship as well) letting me know:

As someone who has purchased books by Robert Frump, you might like to know that The Man-Eaters of Eden: Life and Death in Kruger National Park is now available . You can order your copy at a savings of 37% by following the link below.
Robert Frump is of course one of my ex-bosses from the place I worked before the place I worked before the place I work now.

You should all buy his book. I know I will.

His last book is also still available.


Abulsme - Mon, 7 Aug 2006, 21:49:49 PDT
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Price Drop 3

Just sent the agent the paperwork to drop the price on the house in Florida again. We've been dropping the price once a month ($10K at a shot) and this is the third drop. We were below the average price per square foot in the area with our FIRST price, but things are just so slow there at the moment. Very few buyers, but lots on the market. (The last "very interested" person ended up going for a house about the same size, but MORE expensive and about 20 years newer.)

We're really hoping that at this new price it will move. We have more room before we get to the level that we'd have to write a check at closing instead of getting one... that isn't the pinch point. The pinch point is how long we can run on a month to month cash flow deficit before we have no more cash to flow. I think we've got a couple more months, but not much longer than that, I don't have much left in reserve at this point.

And yes, we could drop the price all the way to our break even point in one fell swoop and hopefully sell right away and at least be done with the mortgage payments and utilities and such, but we do not want to be leaving money on the table either. We've still got SOME time left... just not a huge amount.

And yeah, we're also aware of the problem with dropping the price too much and getting the "there must be something wrong with it if they keep dropping it" effect, but hey, we're what you call "motivated sellers" and all that. :-)


Abulsme - Mon, 7 Aug 2006, 16:45:43 PDT
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Sat 05 Aug 2006

Thing Above

image


Abulsme - Sat, 5 Aug 2006, 11:44:01 PDT
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Fri 04 Aug 2006

Generation 3

With Olive Sarah Wright I have completed posting another generation back. So time once again to see WHERE Sam's roots are from.

The break down of Generation 2:

25% North Carolina
25% Kentucky
25% Arkansas
25% Vermont
And now Generation 3:
25% South Carolina
25% Kentucky
25% Ohio
25% Vermont
Kind of interesting that even though we have 8 people now instead of 4, we're still just in four states (and one country). Both parents of the person born in North Carolina were born in South Carolina. Both parents of the person born in Arkansas were born in Ohio. And the people born in Kentucky and Vermont both had parents born in the same state they were born in.

The center of mass seems to move a little to the southwest. Which one again makes me think I should actually make maps and calculate the real center of mass and stuff.

But once again, I won't. At least not now.


Abulsme - Fri, 4 Aug 2006, 19:49:07 PDT
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Thu 03 Aug 2006

Olive Sarah Wright

imageThis is my mother's mother's mother.

She went by Sarah, not Olive. So much so that when I was putting this together there was a lot of discussion about if she was really Sarah Olive or Olive Sarah. The one online reference I had found said Olive Sarah, but my mom was SURE that is was Sarah Olive. I actually switched it back and forth a couple times.

I finally settled on Olive Sarah when my mom sent me something my Uncle David (the family genealogy expert) that listed her as O. Sarah. But regardless of her given name, she went by Sarah.

She died young. Hit by a car while she was walking as a pedestrian in 1917. She was 37. There were not very many cars then.

And aside from the fact that that she lived in Vermont, married Donald Hurlburt, and was the mother of my grandmother and my Great Uncle Rod, that's about all I know about her.


Abulsme - Thu, 3 Aug 2006, 22:04:46 PDT
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Wed 02 Aug 2006

Book: A Morbid Taste For Bones

imageAuthor: Ellis Peters
Started: 5 Jul 2006
Finished: 10 Jul 2006
197p / 6d
33 p/d

A little delayed writing this up. I finished this on the first day the movers were packing us up in Florida. (Which reminds me, I should post some time on what a bad job they did and all the stuff that got screwed up.)

In any case, this is the first in the "Chronicles of Brother Cadfael". A few Christmases and birthdays ago my mom had given me a Cadfael book... the LAST of the series actually. I was bad and read it before reading earlier ones in the series, but decided it was worth reading more. So I ordered the first in the series. Several years later, it made it to the top of my pile and I read it.

Basically your standard murder mystery sort of thing except it is set in the middle ages and the detective is a monk. This one centers around a quest to get the bones of a saint for the monestary and the events that end up surrounding that.

In the end it was OK, but did not super impress me. If I remember correctly (it was years ago) I liked the other one I read better. This one just never fully held my attention. It was still a pretty quick read, but I was never fully drawn in. There was never a time where I felt like I had to keep reading rather than putting it down for awhile.

I'll still read the next one in the series (eventually). But I'm won't be in a super rush.


Abulsme - Wed, 2 Aug 2006, 13:09:07 PDT
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Tue 01 Aug 2006

Chris is Coming

image

Only about a 6% chance of tropical storm winds hitting our place in Florida at the moment, but we would still rather it did not.


Abulsme - Tue, 1 Aug 2006, 08:36:27 PDT
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