Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Bono Can Unite Us"... says the Washington Post:

"Bono seems to provide for many in official Washington a form of inspiration, reaching into those corners of the soul to find whatever remained of the sense of optimism and altruism that drove them into public service in the first place. What Bono demands in return is the means to save the lives of millions.

"Why are people listening?" Bono says. "Because I actually believe in America and they know it and I'm not sure if they do sometimes. It is a little odd and eerie to have an Irish rock star recite the Declaration of Independence like it's a great poem, but it is a great poem. And that poetry is what's missing from political dialogue right now. And this country is parched, parched from the lack of such political lyrics, and I'm going in saying, 'This is who you are.' "...

..."And then he is gone, off to catch a private jet to New York, where he will greet the famous of that metropolis by their first names.

He leaves behind a city awash in its own bile. We are once again faced with our own disagreements over earmarking and vetoes and overrides and cots. What we do now is wait -- wait for Bono to return, the one person who can unite us."

End the War in Iraq

Here's a plan I found in my e-mail inbox this morning. Beats anything I've heard since "Mission Accomplished":

The Pentagon announced TODAY the formation of a new 500-man elite fighting unit called the United States Redneck Special Forces (USRSF)

These boys will be dropped off in
Iraq and have been given only the following facts about terrorists :

1. The season opened today.
2. There is no limit.

3. They taste just like chicken.

4. They don't like beer, pickups, country music or Jesus.

5. They are directly responsible for the death of Dale Earnhardt

The Pentagon expects the problem in
Iraq to be over by next Friday.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hey Big Spender

Noted commentator Bill Press takes George W. out back behind the shed for this one on Bush:

"Let the facts speak for themselves. In seven years, Bush has not once balanced the budget, nor presented a balanced budget to Congress. He took office with a $236 billion surplus, which he quickly turned into a $413 billion deficit. The projected deficit for 2008 is still $180 billion, not counting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the money we are borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund.

Bush's record of fiscal profligacy continues. The federal budget in 2001 was $1.9 trillion; today, it's $2.7 trillion. Under Bush and a Republican Congress, the national debt has soared from 5.8 trillion to $9 trillion – 25 percent of which is owned by China, Japan and the UK. It took 42 presidents 224 years to build up $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. It's taken George Bush just seven years to accumulate $1.22 trillion."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Why Ron Paul

Robert Scheer has a great column about Ron Paul and what his priorities are for America:

"What has (Bush) gotten for the trillions wasted? Nothing, when it comes to capturing Osama bin Laden, bringing democracy to Iraq or preventing oil prices from tripling and enriching the ayatollahs of Iran while messing up the American economy.

That money could have paid for a lot of things we could have used here at home. As Rep. Paul points out, for what the Iraq war costs, we could present each family of four a check for $46,000 -- which exceeds the $43,000 median household income in his Texas district. He asks: "What about the impact of those costs on education, the very thing that so often helps to increase earnings? Forty-six thousand dollars would cover 90 percent of the tuition costs to attend a four-year public university in Texas for both children in that family of four. But, instead of sending kids to college, too often we're sending them to Iraq, where the best news in a long time is they [the insurgents] aren't killing our men and women as fast as they were last month."

How damning that it takes a libertarian Republican to remind the leading Democratic candidates of the opportunity costs of a war that most Democrats in Congress voted for. "

Damning indeed. Shame on the Democrats for allowing this to continue, and particularly shame on Hillary Clinton voting with Bush's team to make the Iranian Guard a terrorist organization. She's falling for it all over again, and Democrats seem to be OK with that.

We need a leader who will change the system, we need Ron Paul (or at least somebody other than Hillary Clinton).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tacoma > Space Invader

More terriffic Tacoma ads:

Meteor: Tacoma Meteor-Proof ad

Loch Ness: Tacoma Loch Nest Monster ad (Shoot it!)

World of Warcraft: Tacoma World of Warcraft ad

Robosaurus: Tacoma Robosaurus ad

High Tide: Tacoma 2006 Super Bowl ad

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Palm Centro Review by Watts

I'm usually at least 2 years behind the times with PDAs, so the new Palm Centro was the perfect choice for me (ha!). Yes, the operating system is old, but the Centro hit all my buttons. It's relatively cheap, has e-mail and internet access, and it's small enough to put in my pocket.

First, get a look at where I'm coming from: The Clie SJ-33 on the left was my first PDA, bought it on eBay back in 2003 after it had been out for a couple of years. It hooked me, and lasted about a year until I cleaned the screen with Windex (oops). I can get it working pretty much now and again, but it has become harder to reset since the up arrow no longer works. I loved the size, and the protective cover was perfect for a pocket. The design is a bit wider than the new Centro, but they do share a lot in the look and feel departments.

Not pictured is the Clie TG-50 I bought to replace the SJ-33. It had a keyboard, metal cover, tougher, smaller and more durable screen. It was longer, thinner, and much faster. Unfortunately, it was stolen out of the Volvo while we were at Chucky Cheeses's.

I replaced the TG-50 with the brick, the Sony Clie NZ-90. This mammoth PDA originally cost about $800, but I snagged it for less than $200 on eBay a couple of years ago. The screen is gigantic, 320 X 480. It runs much faster than the old Clies, even a reset takes only a couple of seconds. A wifi stick enables internet functions and e-mail, but it takes up the memory stick slot, and I found it to be too cumbersome and battery-draining to be of any real use. The NZ-90 sports a 2 MP camera with a flash. Pictures aren't half bad, better than any cameraphone I've seen including the Centro. The downside? Battery-life. You might get 2 or 3 pictures with the flash on, and that's it. Battery drained all the way. And it's not just the camera, this thing is an all-around battery-hog, not good for more than 2-3 hours doing anything. Did I mention that it's huge? No way to put the NZ-90 in a pants pocket.
And that leads to the new Palm Centro. Compared with my other PDAs, the Centro is tiny, and fits in my pocket better than my old cellphone did. That's big difference #1, the Centro is also a phone! Told ya I was always about 2 years behind the times, but there you go, that's the biggest addition to my PDA arsenal.

Along with the cellphone, the Centro comes with a Sprint unlimited data plan for e-mail and web browsing. Although we don't have high-speed cell service in my area, the internet is speedy enough to browse pretty good, and it even does streaming audio and video. My daughter was amazed when I pulled up Sponge Bob and Dora episodes. Always having access to e-mail has been a revelation. No more booting up the main computer just to see if I have any e-mails. I have my e-mail IMAPPed through gmail and it works flawlessly. That's big difference #2.

One of the coolest features is Google Maps. This function nearly eliminates my desire for GPS, since you can set up directions on the go. When you look up a contact, there is a "Map" option so you can see the contact's address. Click on aerial view and you get aerial photos. Wow.

Yes, the keyboard is rather small on the Centro, but I've found it to be just as usable as the keyboard on the NZ-90. One handed operation is possible, and the backlit keys help out in the dark. The screen is super-bright, and not as battery-draining as the larger NZ-90. I've loaded some larger fonts for the Pluckr program, and that has helped a great deal as the smaller screen means smaller fonts.

I like the small size of the Centro, it fits my rather large hands well, and it has basically become an additional appendage for me. It feels solid, and after two weeks I have no regrets about my choice. Go Centro!

Friday, November 16, 2007

W, You're no Reagan

"Mr. Reagan, like Mr. Bush, had gone through his share of second-term blues, including scandal (Iran-contra) and a hit to his job approval. But Reagan rebounded in his final year-plus in office – in part by cutting deals with Congress (and the Soviet Union) – and ended his presidency with job-approval ratings above 60 percent. Perhaps not coincidentally, he pulled off a rare feat: He was succeeded by his vice president, George H.W. Bush.

The current President Bush has shown no such inclination to compromise with the Democrats lately, instead using or threatening to use the veto pen early and often, particularly on spending bills. On Tuesday, Bush signed one, Defense appropriations, and vetoed one, the Labor-Health-Education appropriations bill, on the grounds that it was $10 billion over budget and funded 2,000 special projects.

Bush went after Congress in a speech Tuesday in Indiana: "Their majority was elected on a pledge of fiscal responsibility, but so far it is acting like a teenager with a new credit card."

Bush went 5-1/2 years before his first veto, but his apparent goal now is to reestablish his bona fides as a fiscal conservative, after spending big earlier in office."

Good luck with that 60% approval rating, George.

War Costs Mounting

I remember when they estimated the war would pay for itself, cost $50 Billion at most, and now that's less than a "supplemental". From the AP:

"The $1.6 trillion figure, for the period from 2002 to 2008, translates into a cost of $20,900 for a family of four, the report said. The Bush administration has requested $804 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined, the report stated.

For the Iraq war only, total economic costs were estimated at $1.3 trillion for the period from 2002 to 2008. That would cost a family of four $16,500, the report said....

...Meanwhile, “the sum of interest paid on Iraq-related debt from 2003 to 2017 will total over $550 billion,” the report said. The government has to make interest payments on the money it borrows to finance the national debt, which recently hit $9 trillion for the first time.

The report comes as the House prepares to vote this week on another effort by Democrats to set a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq as a condition for providing another $50 billion for the war."

I'm not really anti-war per se, but a cost-benefit analysis of the war does not look good, even if you're in the pro-torture camp. It would be difficult to prove that this war has been "worth it". Just imagine what we could have spent that money on...or saved in taxes if that's what you prefer.