Saturday, October 30, 2004

watts4u2 endorsements

Well, the time has come, we're down to the wire and decisions must be made. Here are the candidates I suggest voting for and a brief reason or two why:

President: John Kerry
If you've been reading my blog, you understand that this is an easy one for me. I am a fan of Reagan, respect Bush I, voted for Perot in '92 and Nader twice. I think the two parties are too close on too many issues thanks to their contributors. But this time, it's different. It is so vitally important to dismiss George W. Bush, that I am willing to cast off my disdain for the two-party system for the first time in my presidential voting career. I'm voting for John Kerry.

Governor (NC): Patrick Ballantine
Easley created his image funded with tax dollars and his slimy attorney general ads. He's awash in money from special interests, and he submitted a budget with lottery earnings in it when we don't have a lottery. Ballantine worries me a bit, but he has shown, at times, the ability to look beyond party politics for the greater good, such as when he submitted to having his district redrawn in a manner which made it tougher for him to keep his seat. Of course, he's not running for that seat anymore, is he?

State Senate: Woody White
Ballantine's seat up for grabs. This one has gotten ugly and I'm going to hold my nose hard when I vote. I liked Julia Boseman, at least I thought she was a breath of fresh air when she started her term as New Hanover County Commissioner. But soon it became clear that she was willing to stab people in the back and make 'behind the scenes' political deals to benefit herself, by say, getting appointed to the hospital board. The way she treated Ted Davis is abominable, and I lost all respect for her when she made a deal with the...I mean, Bobby Greer. Woody White, handpicked by his law partner Patrick Ballantine to fill his vacancy while he ran for governor, has not distinguished himself much beyond his Republican stalwarts, but he seems like he could carry on Ballantine's good work. Then his party starts attacking Boseman for being/taking money from lesbians. Well,I follow politics fairly closely in the paper, and I didn't have a clue she was gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I consider myself an informed voter and I would not have know if Woody hadn't brought it up, so I think it's fair game....especially considering that she's taking money from a gay/lesbian/transexual PAC that requires her to sign some kind of pledge. This ain't pretty folks, but we deserve to know the facts.

Senator: Erskine Bowles
This is the man responsible for balancing the federal budget and giving our country a great run in the 90's....Clinton was a nobody without Bowles. He's a get the job done guy and we need him up there.

Update 8/08: Of course all these candidates lost. The people who won all suck. I can back this up with facts. For example, Julia Boseman? Split with her gay lover and now they are having a custody battle over their adopted child. I was right. Again.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Neuromarketing Candidate

"Already, some companies are dabbling in neuromarketing.
DaimlerChrysler used MRIs to gauge interest in different makes of cars. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology are scanning brains for reaction to movie trailers. Baylor University scientists just published brain scans suggesting preference for Coke or Pepsi is culturally influenced, and not just a matter of taste. "

Very interesting read. Who is Tom Freedman? Not the guy from The Times right?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Slate Votes - At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!

Slate Votes - At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!: "Phillip Carter, Military and Legal Affairs Writer: Kerry

I'm casting my vote as a referendum on the Bush national security policies since January 2001. When you pour billions into homeland security without achieving a significant net gain in security, I think there's a problem. When you mislead the country about our reasons for war in Iraq, and then fail to plan effectively for military and strategic victory, you simply don't get to keep your job. When you employ lawyers to eviscerate the rule of law and make America into the world's brigand instead of the world's leader, I don't think you should be allowed to keep your office. When you allow al-Qaida to mutate and evolve into a more lethal and survivable global terror network on your watch, you haven't done your job. Sen. Kerry hasn't fully shown that he will improve on all these fronts, but I do believe he will do better than President Bush."

I hear ya! If you were for the war (even without WMD/911 ties), you should vote against Bush for bungling the war. If you were against the war, well, turns out you were right, and you know what to do...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Driver 8

Driver 8, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Driver 8 Take A Break

DSC06932editdalejr, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

So it wasn't Dale Jr's day, it was still a fun race. These fences reeked havoc with my photos, but hope to upload some PhotoShopped photos later.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Thursday, October 21, 2004

How to Carry An Atomic Bomb

briefcase, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Island UK's international marketing manager Chris Dwyer has U2's new album under lock & key.

U2 Bests CIA in Security

U2 news article - from @U2: "
A single copy of the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, one of three in existence, is on a global tour for preview sessions.

Chris Dwyer, of the band's record company Island, arrived yesterday with the disc in a briefcase handcuffed to her arm. (Edit) exclusive listening party. As a red light flashed outside the boardroom, mobile phones were confiscated as one of the company's staff half-jokingly patted us down for recording devices.

The CD was theatrically brought to the boardroom by another staffer dressed in a radiation suit, the message being that U2 have delivered their most explosive album in years. The fake bombs and missiles positioned around the room drove home the point."

Vertigo on a banjo?

U2 news article - from @U2: "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Universal) out Nov 22.

FANS should keep an eye out for a limited-edition Atomic Bomb box set, which comes with a 48-page book full of Bono's drawings, a bonus track (Fast Cars), and a DVD with documentary footage plus live acoustic performances of Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own and the Edge and Bono playing Vertigo on a banjo."

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

WMV//AGC Vertigo Video

Now with more editing!
I fee-e-eel like I've done this catorce times.

(link removed due to space restrictions)

Pelican in Flight

Pelican in Flight, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Shot this one on Bald Head Island (with the camera...)

Continuing to work on the Anna Grace "Vertigo" video linked below. Tracey didn't like the 2 U2 images in there (and I agree, it just doesn't fit as anyone who remembers my "Electrical Storm" video can attest), so now it's all from the cameras....mine and Anna Grace's. She's able to play with my old Agfa camera and lots of those shots are in the video. Look for an update later tonight.

Monday, October 18, 2004

WMV//Intro to Vertigo

With video by Watts, take 1...

Check that, take 2, almost half the song

It has it's moments, but eh...I'm learnin'

(link removed due to space restrictions)

Sunset at Sailboat

Sunset at Sailboat, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

I'm a sucker for sunset shots, what can I say?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Audioblogger: Turn it up loud (Captain!)

Audioblogger: Speak Up!

Wow. Technology never stops, this will be great when U2 is on tour....blogging the concert to the web via a cell phone. The sound quality is phone-like, but each audio post can be up to 5 minutes! Plus, audioBlogger sent me this e-mail that made me feel good:

"Alright, thanks for signing up for audioBLOGGER.
You are now revolutionizing the revolution!


My voice in the audio post (click on link below) sounds computer-like until the southern drawl kicks in at the end, but that's really me.

And, it's free! JOY

Welcome to the...

this is an audio post - click to play

'89 300CE

'97 S320

'97 S320, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

'97 S320 vs '89 300CE

Had the 300CE in the shop for a new wheel bearing yesterday, the first necessary repair in quite a while, but there are many other things I could spend money on to make it "just right" (like a new evaporator core...A/C just won't keep up). While my car was under repair I had the pleasure to drive a '97 S320 sedan.
The S320 is gorgeous, black with tinted windows and every creature comfort you could imagine. The seats. Oh my, those seats are heavenly, and the adjustment range is limitless. You can move the seat forward while the back stays in place. It's a little touch that makes a real difference.
The interior is massive, and quite caccoon-like. You are set apart from the outside world, in a plush manner that is limousine-like. The sunroof is gigantic, probably wider than some small cars. This particular model suffered from deep, set in-cigarette smoke, and under that I could smell what I'll call "Grandpa Poot Remnants".
This old-man smell may have added to the boat-like sensation driving the S320. Make no mistake, this car is solid as a tank, but with the inline-6 it doesn't have the necessary grunt to give the car a strong feel, it's just not enough engine for the heaviest car around. And it's big. I mean massive, and it had more of a Buick feel than a BMW feel, it was more of a boat than I expected.
Maybe I'm just used to the feel of my '89 300CE. It drives better than the S320, more feel and firmness in the steering and suspension, so much lighter it felt like a jackrabbit after the S320. The 300CE is much more raw than the S320, not so many bells & whistles, less emphasis on plush and more emphasis on driving.
The S320 would be the car of choice for long road trips, but the 300CE wins out in the fun factor. While the S320 is perfect for isolating you from the outside world, the 300CE with the b-pillarless windows is at home with the windows down and sunroof back, taking in the environment while speeding through it. Nothing like hearing the crickets on both sides of a tree-lines road like NC 133 in Brunswick County.
It was fun to drive the S320, and now that I have, I'm over it and love my 300CE all the more. With a few repairs and some TLC I think I'll keep her around.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sailboat, Oak Island Lighthouse

SAVE0093edit, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Ship Homecoming

SAVE0091edit, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Barge at Sunset

SAVE0090edit, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Old Baldy

SAVE0023edit, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

This picture is a few years old, scanned. I have a few more oldies to post later, stay tuned!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Scott Ritter Speaks

The Inspection Process was Rigged to Create Uncertainty Over WMD to Bolster the US and UK's Case for War:

"Since the inspection process was pre-programmed to fail, there would be no way the US or the UK would accept any finding of compliance from the UN weapons inspectors. The inspection process was rigged to create uncertainty regarding Iraq's WMD, which was used by the US and the UK to bolster their case for war."

I thought the Bush regeime had smeared Ritter out of existence, but maybe that's just from the big media outlets we're all used to here. Ritter was right before the war. Not about the sex with minors thing, but the wrongness of the war.

White Flower Closer

White Flower Closer

White Flower

White Flower

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Blogging from the Volvo

On the way to Goldsboro, and this is my first attempt at typing in the car. It could be better, but it isa marvel of technology nonetheless.

I'd really like to write an in-depth analysis of the debates, but I fell asleep before the first one ended and Anna Grace kept my attention for a lot of the VP debate. Last night's debate was such a heated affair, with the candidates practically yelling at the small audience. I thought Kerry was more convincing than Bush last night, though he could have made Bush look like more of an idiot with more well-placed jabs. It was the strongest debate I've seen, ever, but still no big line that will stand up like "You're no Jack Kennedy" or "There you go again." Maybe next time....
How anyone could be undecided at this point boggles my mind. Either you've fallen under the Bush/Cheney spell or you still have a grip on reality. Our President mislead us into an unjust war under false pretenses and has not been able to win that war and secure the peace. Do we reject him for the former, or the latter? That's the choice to me.

New Kid in Town

New Kid in Town



Monday, October 04, 2004

Friedman's Back

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Iraq: Politics or Policy?:

"Being away has not changed my belief one iota in the importance of producing a decent outcome in Iraq, to help move the Arab-Muslim world off its steady slide toward increased authoritarianism, unemployment, overpopulation, suicidal terrorism and religious obscurantism. But my time off has clarified for me, even more, that this Bush team can't get us there, and may have so messed things up that no one can. Why? Because each time the Bush team had to choose between doing the right thing in the war on terrorism or siding with its political base and ideology, it chose its base and ideology. More troops or radically lower taxes? Lower taxes. Fire an evangelical Christian U.S. general who smears Islam in a speech while wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army or not fire him so as not to anger the Christian right? Don't fire him. Apologize to the U.N. for not finding the W.M.D., and then make the case for why our allies should still join us in Iraq to establish a decent government there? Don't apologize - for anything - because Karl Rove says the 'base' won't like it. Impose a 'Patriot Tax' of 50 cents a gallon on gasoline to help pay for the war, shrink the deficit and reduce the amount of oil we consume so we send less money to Saudi Arabia? Never. Just tell Americans to go on guzzling. Fire the secretary of defense for the abuses at Abu Ghraib, to show the world how seriously we take this outrage - or do nothing? Do nothing. Firing Mr. Rumsfeld might upset conservatives. Listen to the C.I.A.? Only when it can confirm your ideology. When it disagrees - impugn it or ignore it."

Click the link for the full article, you may need a subscription for NYT.

Friedman is calling for a Bush apology....well, I think Friedman and the NYTimes owe us an apology as well, since they pretty much helped Bush pull the wool over our eyes. Despite this, he proves here that he's still one of the best MidEast analysts, and Bush/Kerry et al would be wise to read this column.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Certainly Wrong

Yes, the intelligence we had before the Iraq invasion was wrong. In hindsight, it is plain to see that the two main reasons for attacking Iraq have been proven false (WMD, link to terrorists/911). There are still good things that can come from the invasion...certainly removing Saddam was a good thing for millions of Iraquis. But for Bush to press that we were right in hindsight....well, that just defies reason. And the other excuses for the invasion are equally if not more dubious:
Enforce the UN Mandate and 15+ resoultions: Well, we did get the inspectors back in there and in hindsight, it is clear they were effective. Also, the strongest resolution called for "serious consequences", and specifically did not include the threat of military force. Sure the UN has a weak backbone and there are times we may need to take the lead, but to say that we exhausted every option with the international community is patently false.
We can create a model democracy in the heart of the MidEast, and like the domino theory, other states will follow their lead. Well, Friedman et al, it ain't workin' out quite like that. No, we've created a new terrorist state inside Iraq. Bush would have you believe this was a good thing...."we're killing them over there instead of them killing us over here". But the good Iraqui people now blame us for the terrorists, and resent our occupation as well. And I don't see how we've really secured our own country, the borders are as porous as ever, we scan only 4% of containers coming in our ports....there is much more we could have done for security at home, things that would actually make us safer in the USA....things that would not have endangered our fine soldiers who have been placed in this terrible quagmire.
But we are where we are. At this point, what are our goals? What is our exit strategy? When 1/3 of the troops decide not to re-enlist in a year, what are we going to do? I don't think there's a chance Germany or France will help us now. Maybe the Russians will help? Putin's got his hands full....
Now that we've reached this point in the war, I must reflect on what has been missing from the whole war plan: The Powell Doctrine. Remember? Overwhelming force for a quick and decisive victory, with a clear plan and exit strategy from the start. Bush listened to the wrong advisors. I think about that...and I think about how this war was going to "pay for itself". Sure, there was bad intelligence, but we were also mislead by Bush/Cheney for political reasons as well.
When you look back at the coalition that his father nurtured, the deadline he set, the UN Resolution, and his decision not to forge on to Bagdad for all the right reasons....George Sr. was a saint compared to W, a true steward of US leadership. By contrast, W has largely ignored the international community on Iraq, placing criticism on them, practically calling them pussies...."you're with us or against us".
Looking back, it is clear that the reasons for going to war were false. The desired results are further from reach each day. Who is best to lead us out of this terrible blunder, the guy who got us into this mess,or the man who fought in a wrong war and came home to get us out of it?

Riverfest in Wilmington

Riverfest in Wilmington

Racin' at Riverfest

Racin' at Riverfest