Monday, July 31, 2006

Kerry Proposes Health Care Plan

Hmm, I guess this is a time warp from 2004.

Sen. John Kerry on Monday proposed requiring all Americans to have health insurance by 2012, "with the federal government guaranteeing that they have the means to afford it."

That is a lot of money is expecting the government to cough up. I wonder if you will be able to opt out of this program or is everyone required to have it no matter what. It sounds like the same tax and spend crap that always comes out of the Boston liberal camp. Even the Repubs in Boston like to give away the free stuff paid for with tax payer cash:

Kerry faces the reality that the governor of his home state — Republican Mitt Romney, himself a potential 2008 presidential candidate — has not only talked about but enacted a sweeping health care overhaul designed to bring universal coverage to Massachusetts.

Llamas enlisted in Zionist Plot!

Or so says the Arab Street once they get their hands on this story.

Israeli newspapers carried pictures of South American llamas accompanying commandos out of southern Lebanon, their saddlebags full of fighting gear.

Yedioth Ahronoth daily quoted a senior Israeli military commander as saying the white-furred pack animals could carry up to 60 pounds each over rough terrain, were quiet and required feeding only once every two days.

I think Iran needs to come out and say that llamas are against Allah. Plus they need to have a violent protest soon. Maybe the Arab Street should be burning the Argentinean flag and running around with placards stating "No Blood for Llamas! Also Lorenzo Lamas needs to watch his step just in case things get crazy.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Europeans The New Big Player in Lebanon

Hmm it seems that they are going to be forced into a greater role in the Middle East if a large force of peacekeepers are needed after the inevitable cease fire between Hezbollah and Israel.
Italy, Germany, Ireland, France and Turkey have said they are considering
joining a U.N.-run multinational force. Britain and the Netherlands appear
unenthusiastic.
Foreign ministers from across the continent will discuss
their options next week at a hastily arranged gathering in Brussels,
Belgium.

Of course Europe has those Old Colonial Blues when it comes to intervening in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Tony Blair office says that Britain is unlikely to contribute
troops because of its colonial history in the region, and its extensive military
commitments elsewhere. Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Dirk-Jan Vermeij said
his country also had no plans to participate.

And there is nothing like a Israel vs. Germany showdown that is just 60 years in the making.
For Germany, the legacy of World War II presents troubling complications: What
if German men in uniform find themselves confronting Israelis?


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New Motorola Phones

Here are some pics of their new lineup of phones. They look pretty high tech and might be the kind of thing that propels them to new market share gains:

This is the MOTOKRZR. It kind of looks like a super thin RAZR phone. I like how thin it is since I usually carry my phone in my pants pocket. Good thing I held off on the PEBL. This thing looks pretty cool.:



And this is the MOTORIZR. It is a slide phone to compete with the offerings from Samsung:

Motorola Introduces MOTOFONE

This seems like a shrewd move to attack Nokia in their strongest business.

Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT - News) today announced the MOTOFONE, a new handset poised to redefine the market by making high design and smart technology truly affordable. The MOTOFONE combines Motorola's award-winning design sensibility with smart features and easy functionality. Motorola's thinnest phone yet at approximately 9mm thin, MOTOFONE borrows key elements from Motorola's iconic portfolio and gives them a new twist. Flat keypad, colors, innovative materials and finish processes combine to make a device that's beautiful and affordable for everyone around the world.

They are making a cool phone for the emerging market which seems dominated by clunky, crappy looking phones that sacrifice looks for cheap materials. Here is a picture from this site of the new phone and some info on it. It looks pretty cool to me and not like some of the plastic crap the low end market has to endure. I have seen some of the lower end Samsungs and Nokias and they look pretty cheap and seem like they would be easily broken. This thing has some decent style points to it and should be a pretty decent seller I should think. I wonder what the margin is on each of these?

Netflix Gets Hammered

Hmm, there might be a buying opportunity coming soon in this stock.

And now, the bad news. Despite a 62% surge in subscriber growth, revenue rose just 46% to $239.4 million as new customers took to lower-priced plans that clearly didn't ding margins. The problem is that analysts were expecting the top line to clock in at $242.6 million.

Coming in a little light at the top will continue, with Netflix aiming for at least $980 million in revenue for all of 2006. Wall Street was perched just above the $1 billion mark.

It also costs Netflix more to rope in each new customer. They are now paying $43.95 when they were only paying $38.13 a year ago. That means their advertising budget is too high and could be slashed to bring prices down. It will hurt when you pay $43.95 to bring in a person that is only going to get the 2 movie plan for $11.99 a month.

I think the stock is getting fairly valued here in the $18 range. They are still the premier DVD rental name and have pretty clean financing and a large cash horde. However the only near term catalyst though will be announcing their plans for video on demand. If it sounds like something that would be able to grow their bottom line then the stock will probably rise. If it is something sad-assed that they cobble together to meet revenue numbers then you can say hello to single digits and a Blockbuster (BBI) style valuation. It should be an interesting watch list name in any case.

Amazon Disappoints

Bad news for Amazon stockholders.

Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN - news) on Tuesday reported a 58 percent drop in second-quarter net income as a severed partnership with Toysrus.com and higher technology investment spending cut into profits.

The company's stock fell 10 percent following the announcement.

That technology investment shouldn't be a big deal since that is a one time thing but that toysrus.com thing may leave them flatfooted. They need to be a player in the online toy space before Christmas but probably won't be able to compete effectively with Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us. They need to ramp up a toy selling arm that rivals already have entrenched and that could hurt them.

Ken Jennings "Blasts" Jeopardy

Hmm, he is now "blasting" Jeopardy and Alex Trebeck on his web site.

"Nobody knows he died in that fiery truck crash a few years back and was immediately replaced with the Trebektron 4000 (I see your engineers still can't get the mustache right, by the way)."

Jennings also takes aim at the show's "effete, left-coast" categories and "same-old" format.

Well I guess those are strong words but I wouldn't call it blasting the show. He just says that it is old fashioned and Alex is wooden in his mannerisms. The categories have always been effete left coast stuff because that seems to be the target audience. A steady diet of "Hip-Hop of the 90s" or "Coldplay Songs" would sink the show.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Israel Masses at the Lebanese Border

It looks like it is almost go-time for an invasion into Hezbollah controlled lands.

An official from the U.N. monitoring force in south Lebanon, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, told The Associated Press in Beirut that between 300 and 500 troops are believed to be in the western sector of the border, backed by as many as 30 tanks.

Hey if this U.N. idiot wasn't supposed to talk to the press then what is he doing talking to the press? Even though he is anonymous it doesn't excuse the fact that he isn't authorized to brief the press about this. The U.N. is a big joke anyway.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Google Knocks it Out of the Park

Wow Google is really going all out by beating estimates again.

Excluding expenses for employee stock compensation and several other one-time items, Google said it would have earned $2.49 per share -- well above the average estimate of $2.22 per share among 32 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

It marks the seventh time in eight quarters as a public company that Google has soared past the earnings hurdle set by Wall Street, even though its management insists the search engine isn't being steered by investors' relentless push for higher profit.

It also seems to be putting out these good numbers at Yahoo's expense:

Through June, Google held a 44.7 percent share of the U.S. search engine market, up from 36.9 percent at the same time last year, according to comScore Media Metrix. Yahoo ranked a distant second at a 28.5 percent share, comScore said.

Google's Web sites also have been attracting more new users than Yahoo, Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner Inc. -- the owners of the Internet's most trafficked Web sites.

Too bad they won't split their stock to make it more reasonable to buy a round lot.

House Backs Israel 410-8

It seems that there was a bi-partisan show of support in which the House backed Israel up in its war with Hezbollah terrorists. Here are the Congressmen that voted pro-Hezbollah according to the House Clerks office:

Neil Abercrombie
John Conyers
John Dingell
Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI)
Jim McDermott
Ron Paul
Nick Rahall

Pete Stark

Yup, our boy Neil Abercrombie is on this list. It just goes to show that at least part of the Hawaii delegation can't agree to side with our only real ally in the Middle East. Even when they are defending themselves from terror and trying to get their kidnapped soldiers back. At least Ed Case voted pro-Israel on this thing. That is one of the reasons why I'm going to vote for him in November. He isn't a raging, insane liberal that is soft on Islamic terror.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Bill

This is why Bush has such poor poll numbers:

Senate supporters of the bill likened that logic to opposition suffered by Galileo, Christopher Columbus and others who were rebuked in their time but vindicated later.

Polls show as much as 70 percent public support for embryonic stem cell research.

Yes lets go against the wishes of 70% of the public while your approval numbers are in the toilet. It also lets China or whomever steps up to the plate get ahead of us in the research gap. While we dicker around with restraints on something that could potentially help millions of Americans.

If the cure for cancer or spinal cord injuries or something comes out of Stem Cell research then Bush will actually be the Conservative Caveman that his critics make him out to be. He will be figuratively standing in the school house door while China or Korea leaps ahead of us in Pharma research. This kind of stuff is why I am a Moderate instead of a hard line Conservative. I just can't fathom the thinking that true scientific progress that can potentially help millions of people can be slowed so easily by social issues like this.

Will Snakes on a Plane be No. 1 at the Box Office?

It sure will be interesting if this movie does make it to number one in its opening week. It seems like they are dodging the critics to go right to the fans at ComicCon in San Diego.

If Snakes slinks to the top of the box office in its first weekend--and Pandya expects it will--it'll join the likes of When a Stranger Calls, Madea's Family Reunion and Underworld: Evolution, all 2006 films that claimed number one status without the benefit and/or distraction of critics' screenings.

"As it becomes more common to open films without press screenings, it becomes less of an issue," Pandya said.

Hmm, if it does make a bundle of money I think more lower budget films will dodge the critics and do what Snakes is going to do. I mean why have the critics hurt your movie when you have generated a ton of buzz and grass roots advertising via blogs like Snakes did. This paragraph certainly sums up this view:

Business-wise, Gitesh Pandya of the number-crunching movie site BoxOfficeGuru.com thinks New Line's decision will actually boost Snakes' bottom line.

"These kind of movies are marketing-driven, not critic-driven," Pandya said. "So the only thing the critics could do is hurt it. And even if the reviews are good, they wouldn't mean much."

So in a way the critics are irrelevant to the marketing of any internet buzz related movie. I wonder if this could lead to the end of the professional movie critic as we know it? The most valuable target audience might end up going to their internet peer group first and foremost and totally ignore the critics. They could go to their MySpace friends, or to blogs with insider connections like Aint it Cool News, and soak up the free internet buzz.

That would mean that wiser movie producers will use the internet buzz to shill their movies and totally dodge Ebert and Roper or anyone that can hurt the word of mouth going into the opening of their movie.

I guess the so-called Oscar contender type movies will always be there to give the professional critics something to do. I mean those movies have a financial incentive that the critics directly affect. An Oscar nod engineered by critics backing a movie will make the Box Office go up no matter what.

Israel Rolls the Tanks into South Lebenon

It looks like the ground offensive has begun in the Israel/Hezbollah war.

Israeli troops punched into south Lebanon on Wednesday as warplanes flattened buildings including one thought to hold Hezbollah's top leaders, intensifying an offensive despite mounting international pressure and a Lebanese appeal to spare the country further death and devastation.

I wonder what the UN is going to do now? Beg the US to send troops into the area most likely.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Weird USB Drive Problem

I just wanted to put this down for posterity. I was trying to get my USB drive to run on this machine that had E: drive mapped to another network resource. So when I inserted the USB drive didn't pick up a drive letter for some reason and I was not able to access the drive. This seems to be a known problem with WinXP and here is the workaround that I found after Googling.

WORKAROUND

To prevent this issue from occurring, when you map a network drive, assign the highest available drive letter to the mapped network drive. To work around this issue if the new volume appears in Disk Management, specify a different drive letter for the new device or volume. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Manage.

2. Under
Computer Management (Local), click Disk Management.

3. In the list of drives in the right pane, right-click the new drive and then click Change Drive Letter and Path(s).

4. Click Change, and in the drop-down box, select a drive letter for the new drive that is not assigned to a mapped network drive.

5. Click OK, and then click OK again. Both the mapped network drives and the recently installed drive appear in Windows Explorer.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Turn Back the Clock on Lebanon

This is a pretty sad story of how a group like Hezbollah can bring what was a country on the rise right back to its chaotic years just like that.

Days before the violence erupted, newspapers had been full of gleeful predictions of a prosperous summer tourism season. But for the past six days, the headlines have told of fresh devastation.

Tourists from Europe and the Gulf — who just a week ago thronged the streets, Parisian boutiques and restaurants — are fleeing. Hotels that boasted almost full occupancy now are almost empty.

After reading about all of the runup to their elections (and them kicking Syria out) Lebanon seemed like a potential tourist destination. Now it will be years before that industry gets back on track. I think Lebanon needs to take a hard line on Hezbollah and maybe even go so far as to ban the organization from its government.

Israel Thinking About Ceasefire

This seems like perfectly reasonable terms of a ceasefire. I think America has talked to Israel and told them that Lebanon's elected government isn't some terror group even though they have members who are part of a terrorist group.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that the fighting in Lebanon would end when two Israeli soldiers were freed, rocket attacks stopped and the Lebanese army deployed along the border. But he appeared to scale back from previous demands for Hezbollah to be dismantled.

The Lebanese army deployment demand is a new one and that might have come directly from Washington. It is a way for Israel to say that they are at war with Hezbollah and not with Lebanon's elected government. Having the Lebanese army deploy shows that Lebanon is in control of the situation and are taking an active roll in keeping the peace.

Bush Curses at G8

This is an interesting insight into Bush's mindset toward Hezbollah.

"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll.

He told Blair he felt like telling U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan who visited the gathered leaders, to get on the phone with Syrian President Bashar Assad to "make something happen." He suggested Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice might visit the region soon.

He is 100% true. Just like how we could get Israel to stand down if we put pressure on them. I'm sure Syria could broker a ceasefire at any time as well. Of course the UN isn't putting any pressure on them to do it. It is always America's job to reign in Israel but its no one's job to reign in Hezbollah.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bloggers from Lebanon and Israel

Very interesting people blogging from the flashpoint in the Israel/Lebanon war. I love how the internet can pull things together like this. People are writing their thoughts as the bombs drop seconds after things have just happened. The world becomes that much smaller.

Hezbollah Rams Israeli Ship with Drone

Now this is an interesting turn of events in the Hezbollah/Israel War.

Hezbollah rammed an Israeli warship with an unmanned aircraft rigged with explosives Friday, setting it ablaze after Israeli warplanes smashed Lebanon's links to the world one by one and destroyed the headquarters of the Islamic guerrilla group's leader.

Now that seems like a novel way to attack a ship. Kind of like the Oka Flying Bomb from WW2 but without the pilot. Here is a picture of the Oka Flying Bomb:



Here is a picture of the Hezbollah Flying Drone:

Japan Tough Talk Aimed At China

Ah this guy agrees with me when I said that China is running scared when it comes to Japan rearming.

And, arguably, nothing spooks China more than a remilitarized Japan. Even less appealing is a provoked Tokyo operating independently of the U.S.-Japan alliance. Plus Beijing, with its own grand ambitions, doesn't want to inflame its budding rivalry with Japan, already powerhouse in its own right.

The last thing the Chinese need is to come up against a Japan for the top dog in the Asian sphere. Japan's economy is finally on the mend and if they turn some of that newfound GDP growth toward making themselves a first class army and navy who knows how powerful Japan could make themselves. The Japanese also have the US in their corner providing them with arms and knowhow. I'm sure Lockheed, Northrop etc. would love to sell to Japan.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Israel Presses the Attack.

It seems Israel may be cutting off Lebanon from outside intervention.

Israel's decision to ramp up the attacks came at a meeting of security chiefs after a day in which Israel blockaded Lebanese ports, struck Beirut airport and two military airbases, and attacked bridges and houses in the south as well as a bridge leading to the country's only international airport.

The attacks virtually isolated Lebanon by air, sea and land.

It must be a move to hedge out Syria and prevent them from intervening without massive casualties. I wonder if Israel is going to attack Syria now depending on if they mass troops or not. In any case Bashar must be quaking in his boots about now. I bet he figures that he should have stayed a dentist. We even have the first sign of the same scoreboard that Reuters last rolled out during the Intafada:

Israeli air strikes and shelling have already killed at least 55 Lebanese civilians since the two soldiers were captured in a cross-border raid on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if anyone was killed in the latest strikes, which shook Beirut residents from their beds, but television footage showed residents helping others wounded by debris. Fire fighters fought in vain to get a raging blaze at the Jiyyeh plant under control.

Barrages of Hizbollah rocket fire into northern Israel have killed two Israeli civilians and wounded 95.

It is 55-2 with the Israelis in the lead! We are going to see this stupid score sheet from now until both sides get back to the peace table. It is Reuters attempt to make it look like Israel is the next Nazis/Soviets/Mongol Horde/Evil Empire blitzkrieging though helpless Arab countries. Of course they are conveniently forgetting to mention that this was all started by terrorists kidnapping and holding IDF members hostage. Those 55 people will still be alive if Hizbollah didn't grab those hostages it is just that simple.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Great Piece from a Arab Journalist to Palestine

This is an outstanding tell-it-like-it-is piece from Youssef M. Ibrahim via a pretty interesting blog called simply jews. I might as well quote it in its entirety because it is dead on and is very powerful in its rhetoric.

Dear Brethren, the War With Israel Is Over

As Israel enters the third week of an incursion into the same Gaza Strip it voluntarily evacuated a few months ago, a sense of reality among Arabs is spreading through commentary by Arab pundits, letters to the editor, and political talk shows on Arabic-language TV networks.The new views are stunning both in their maturity and in their realism. The best way I can think of to convey them is in the form of a letter to the Palestinian Arabs from their Arab friends:

Dear Palestinian Arab brethren:

The war with Israel is over.

You have lost.

Surrender and negotiate to secure a future for your children.

We, your Arab brothers, may say until we are blue in the face that we stand by you, but the wise among you and most of us know that we are moving on, away from the tired old idea of the Palestinian Arab cause and the "eternal struggle" with Israel.

Dear friends, you and your leaders have wasted three generations trying to fight for Palestine, but the truth is the Palestine you could have had in 1948 is much bigger than the one you could have had in 1967, which in turn is much bigger than what you may have to settle for now or in another 10 years. Struggle means less land and more misery and utter loneliness.

At the moment, brothers, you would be lucky to secure a semblance of a state in that Gaza Strip into which you have all crowded, and a small part of the West Bank of the Jordan. It isn't going to get better. Time is running out even for this much land, so here are some facts, figures, and sound advice, friends.

You hold keys, which you drag out for television interviews, to houses that do not exist or are inhabited by Israelis who have no intention of leaving Jaffa, Haifa, Tel Aviv, or West Jerusalem. You shoot old guns at modern Israeli tanks and American-made fighter jets, doing virtually no harm to Israel while bringing the wrath of its mighty army down upon you. You fire ridiculously inept Kassam rockets that cause little destruction and delude yourselves into thinking this is a war of liberation. Your government, your social institutions, your schools, and your economy are all in ruins.

Your young people are growing up illiterate, ill, and bent on rites of death and suicide, while you, in effect, are living on the kindness of foreigners, including America and the United Nations. Every day your officials must beg for your daily bread, dependent on relief trucks that carry food and medicine into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while your criminal Muslim fundamentalist Hamas government continues to fan the flames of a war it can neither fight nor hope to win.

In other words, brothers, you are down, out, and alone in a burnt-out landscape that is shrinking by the day.

What kind of struggle is this? Is it worth waging at all? More important, what kind of miserable future does it portend for your children, the fourth or fifth generation of the Arab world's have-nots?

We, your Arab brothers, have moved on.

Those of us who have oil money are busy accumulating wealth and building housing, luxury developments, state-of-the-art universities and schools, and new highways and byways. Those of us who share borders with Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan, have signed a peace treaty with it and are not going to war for you any time soon. Those of us who are far away, in places like North Africa and Iraq, frankly could not care less about what happens to you.

Only Syria continues to feed your fantasies that someday it will join you in liberating Palestine, even though a huge chunk of its territory, the entire Golan Heights, was taken by Israel in 1967 and annexed. The Syrians, my friends, will gladly fight down to the last Palestinian Arab.

Before you got stuck with this Hamas crowd, another cheating, conniving, leader of yours,Yasser Arafat, sold you a rotten bill of goods - more pain, greater corruption, and millions stolen by his relatives - while your children played in the sewers of Gaza.The war is over.

Why not let a new future begin?

Israel Starts Up Two Front War

This goes to show that you do not kidnap Israeli soldiers. You might get a bomb dropped on you if you do.

Israeli artillery and airstrikes have been pounding Hezbollah installations in southern Lebanon after a cross-border raid Wednesday that left three Israeli soldiers dead in addition to the two captives. Four more Israelis died in an attack on their tank during the clashes, and another died as soldiers went to their aid, the Israeli military said.

And it looks like Bush is pointing the finger at Syria and Iran as well. Way to escalate this war and maybe have Israel push into Syria and widen this thing. I mean they could justify it by saying that Syria supports Hezbollah and must be made to regime change as well.

"We also hold Syria and Iran, which have provided long-standing support for Hezbollah, responsible for today's violence," spokesman Tony Snow said. "We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers."

Japanese to Hike Rates

Hmm, this is a very well watched meeting if you are investing in EWJ right now.

A decision is expected Friday, when the Bank of Japan's policy board members vote. Raising rates, from virtually zero percent, would be the clearest sign yet that the world's second-biggest economy has emerged from a decade of doldrums. But it also raises concerns that higher borrowing costs might undercut the country's tenuous economic comeback.

Analysts and investors generally expect the BOJ to raise a benchmark rate to a scant 0.25 percent. The overnight discount rate now stands at 0.069 percent -- effectively zero.

Let's hope that it doesn't konk out the recovery we are seeing from the Japanese economy. If that happens it will whipsaw and slow down the Chinese economy as well. China is Japan's 2nd biggest trading partner and if Japan slows so will China.

Gas Consumtion Still High

Even though people are paying $3 a gallon for gas in the US people are still filling up their cars.

Wachovia Corp. economist Jason Schenker said motorists cannot instantly change their lifestyles -- the type of vehicle they drive, the distance they drive to work -- and so "consumption is essentially fixed."

"Even now, SUVs and light trucks are among the majority of vehicles sold," he said.

I figure Americans will not change their behavior unless the price of gas really does go over $4-$5 a gallon. The added price of filling up your tank is one less meal at a sit down restaurant or a movie night for the family right now. Americans can adjust to that. They probably wouldn't be able to adjust to a couple $100 a month added spending on top of rising morgage rates.

Space Watermelon Launched by Rich Guy

Now this seems like an interesting idea floated by Robert Bigelow.

Bigelow hopes to use inflation technology to build an expandable orbital outpost made up of several Genesis-like modules strung together like sausage links that could serve as a space hotel, science lab or even a sports arena.

Here is a picture of the weird looking orbital station:

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

China Steps Up the Pressure on North Korea

Yup, the threat of Japanese rearmament has gotten the lead out of the Chinese.

Chinese President Hu Jintao told the visiting vice president of the North's parliament, Yang Hyong Sop: "We are against any actions that will aggravate the situation. We hope that relevant parties will do more things conducive to the peace and stability of the peninsula," according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Hu said Beijing is "seriously concerned" and called for progress in stalled six-nation talks over the North's nuclear program.

I think Japan should make changes to their Constitution but then don't rearm. They can say that they feel unprotected and need to be ready in case there is North Korean aggression directed toward them. Japan could even threaten to start up their own nuclear weapons program to put pressure on North Korea. That would put the fear of God into the Chinese.

US Extends Geneva Conventions

It looks like we are going to start treating Al-Qaida and Taliban detainees as POWs now.

A memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England to all branches of the armed forces, released Tuesday, instructed them to ensure that all Defense Department policies, practices and directives comply with Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions governing the humane treatment of prisoners.

I wonder if Al-Qaida is going to follow Article 3 of the Geneva Convention when they capture our guys. I have a feeling that they probably won't. They won't go through a trial or provide a lawyer or anything like that. They go right to the execution part.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Now This is One Big Plasma TV

Panasonic is coming out with a 103 inch TV now.

Measuring 2.4 metres by 1.4 meters and weighing 215 kg, the 103-inch panel is bigger than a double-sized mattress and almost as heavy as an upright piano.

The world's largest consumer electronics maker has yet to set the price but Matsushita's 65-inch plasma TVs, its largest available now, sell for about $7,500 in Japan.

Here is a picture of the monster:

Answering Hawkings Question

Hmm this is a very interesting question that Stephen Hawking is asking in this article.

Hawking's question: "In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?"

My answer to this question is: easily. The human race has been in far, far worse shape in the past. These next 100 years will be a cakewalk when you put it up against some of the real honest to God chaos we have faced in the past.

We have gone through plagues that have wiped out 1/3 of the population (the Black Death) and 50 million (1919 Influenza Epidemic.) We have faced wars that killed 6.5 million people (Napoleonic Wars,) 15 million people (WWI) and 62 million (WWII.) We have faced climate change that is far worse then global warming (Big and Little Ice Ages.) We came back from the brink of total annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis and several other points during the Cold War.

Al-Quida terrorism, global warming, Korea Acting up, and Iran getting the bomb are *nothing* when compared to Global Thermal Nuclear War reducing humanity to Wasteland. About the only thing that humanity has to directly fear in the next 100 years is a direct hit from a comet or an asteroid. We still might be able to survive that event like how the mammals did when the Dinosaurs got wiped out. Maybe humans would have to live in burrows like the Morlocks but humans will survive by any means necessary.

I think that all these naysayers that think humanity is doomed need to read some of the stuff that was thrown around during the Mongol Invasion or the Black Death. They thought the world wouldn't last even 10 years more. I guess we proved them wrong.

Why Zidane Headbutted Materazzi

It seems like he was provoked pretty badly by Materazzi if this article is to be believed.

The Paris-based anti-racism advocacy group SOS-Racism issued a statement Monday quoting "several very well informed sources from the world of football" as saying Materazzi called Zidane a "dirty terrorist." It demanded that FIFA, soccer's world governing body, investigate and take any appropriate action.

Ah, so it was a racial slur that was used against him. I figured that is pretty much to only thing that would have freaked him out that bad in one of the biggest matches in French soccer history. The Italians must have been talking trash the whole game and Zidane just couldn't take it any more and lashed out.

Japan Talks Tough on North Korea

Now this is really ramping up the rhetoric.

"If we accept that there is no other option to prevent an attack ... there is the view that attacking the launch base of the guided missiles is within the constitutional right of self-defense. We need to deepen discussion," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said.

"It's irresponsible to do nothing when we know North Korea could riddle us with missiles," echoed Tsutomu Takebe, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. "We should consider measures, including legal changes" required for such an attack, he said.


In other words Japan may need to rearm themselves to take care of the North Korean threat. That should get diplomacy moving in China to affect some kind of peaceful solution. A militarily powerful Japan with the nuclear option is the last thing they need to hold any sort of hegemony in Asian affairs.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Zidane Headbutt Sinks France

I just finished watching the World Cup Final and I have to say that that was one of the best World Cups I have ever seen. The thing I was disappointed with is how Zidane freaked out and headbutted Materazzi. How could he have hurt his legacy so badly in one stupid move like that? He was cruising for the same kind of legend that Pele was by gritting out a hurt arm and kicking France's only goal. It seemed that he pretty much willed his team into the Final and they had a great chance of winning it all. Then one stupid move and it is all over.

Well, you do have to hand it to Italia though. They played great defence and at least the US was able to tie them. That is one of the only positive things that happened to the US in this Cup. Well in any case Viva Italia! They deserved it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Germans Have a New Attitude from the World Cup

Hmm it does seem that they are pretty cheerful even though their team lost. This Der Spiegel article shows how German attitudes may be changing because of this World Cup.

The Germans are positive. The Germans are friendly. The Germans have hosted an unforgettable World Cup. How can this be? For years, commentators both at home and abroad have derided the Germans for their pessimism and often glum or crabby manner. A sudden transformation brought on by the sunny, California-style optimism of German national soccer team coach Jurgen Klinsmann?


I think Klinsmann going crazy and putting his heart on his sleeve for the National Team is quite a positive sign. It is better then the emotionless Kaisers that usually skippers most of the Bundesliga teams. They stand there like a statue whether their teams scores or is scored upon. Klinsmann seemed to be willing his team to victory and seemed in physical pain when the opponent scored on them. I think the English club could have really benefited from a coach that is in the game as much as Klinsmann. I hope the Germans keep him on for years to come.

Brits Take World Cup Loss Hard

Wow they really thought they were going to win it all and they did have a pretty good chance to do it. I guess there was just too much expectation by the British fans for some reason:

Most pundits and former players said this current crop was the best England side in decades, with all the first team players maturing at the right time. Such was the anticipation of the World Cup in England, that over a 100 English football anthems and songs were released in the build up to it.

There was an explosion in sales of English flags with many being placed on cars or hung from windows; Mars bars were re-branded as "Believe" bars. In general, English patriotism reached its highest level in years, all because their national football team was in the World Cup.

It seems Rooney hasn't been lambasted in their media as much as the coach of the England squad has? Hmm, let me do some deep Googling to find out some more.