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Monday, March 31, 2008

Hillary, Florida and Michigan 
What gets me about this circular firing squad known as the Democratic party this year:

The Hillary supporters are now claiming that it's unfair and unamerican to disenfranchise voters in Michigan and Florida.

They're all lying sycophants. The truth of the matter is that back when it mattered, they didn't give a good god damn about voters in Florida and Michigan. That's why Democratic voters in those two states were disenfranchised in the first place.

I don't remember any of the Clintons, or anyone in their camp, pounding the table last year to keep the Michigan and Florida democratic primaries on the table.

The operatives on the Left were perfectly willing to disenfranchise voters then, just as they were perfectly willing to disenfranchise military voters in 2000, when it suited their purpose.

Hillary wasn't defending Florida voters and Michigan voters until AFTER she won the primaries. She has no business playing the disenfranchisement card now.

Splash, out

Jason

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SSG Maupin 
Coming home at last.

Leave no one behind.

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Auwe!!! 
Thanks to an email from a reader, I learned of the passing of Raymond Kane, the great Hawai'ian slack-key Kiho'alu guitar player, singer, and keeper of traditional music and the Hawai'ian language.

He was a truly generous and kind man, always willing to share his knowledge.



He is deeply missed by this guitarist in Florida.

Aloha, Uncle Ray Kane!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Auwe!!! 
Aloha Airlines is halting passenger service after monday.

Mahalo, Aloha, for many great trips interisland, and many great memories.



Meanwhile, I encourage anyone to fly Hawaiian airlines at any opportunity. It's by far my favorite.

Aloha nui loa,

Ua mau ka ea o ka aina, i ka pono.

Devil Dogs 
Ahhh, this is more like it!

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Stop-Loss 
No, I haven't seen it.

And no, I don't plan on having a bunch of Hollywood imbiciles insult my intelligence by putting together such a piece of unadulterated shit.

Look at this pic:



Yeah, these dipwads sure took time to do their research and understand the military alright.

They can't even get uniforms right.

If I ran into one of them I'd bitchslap them on the spot. If I were a film actor, I'd make damn sure I was wearing the uniform correctly.

Yes, that's the regard Hollywood has for soldiers and the uniform. To Hell with them.

Libertas (where I copped the pic) has the stomach for a full review.

Splash, out

Jason

UPDATE: The New York Times review is at once overwrought and unintentionally hilarious

They treat us to a number of laugh lines, including "Fellow Texan Steve Earle, the Toby Keith of the Left."

(Dude. I've met Steve Earle. Steve Earle's brother in law is a friend of mine. Toby Keith is no Steve Earle.)

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Guilty Pleasure 
Angryjournalist.com.

I slam on them regularly here, but the truth is there are tens of thousands of dedicated journos working their asses off, for no money and no job security, but simply for the thrill of the scoop and the challenge and the desire to serve their readers.

Some of their gripes are ridiculous. Most are legit.

I loved being a magazine reporter. It was the best job I've ever had to this day. Yes, the hours were insane and yes, we worked like dogs and yes, the money was lousy, and yes, it was one of the best things I ever did. I'd encourage any bright young man or woman with a knack for writing to do it.

For a few years. :-)

Banished! 
In a breathtaking, orgasmic spasm of frustrated intellectual puppyhood, Professor Jay Rosen has dubbed me "troll" and banished me from the PressThink blog.

Scroll down for the comments leading up to the banishment.

Jay had specifically criticized McCain for suggesting the Iran-Al Qaeda connection. I came to McCain's defense, and attacked the notion that Shia and Sunni never worked together, number one, and number two, Iran and Al Qaeda's relationship has been well documented, by the 9/11 commission for example, and Iran has also provided material support to Sunni extremists already.

On this there is no real doubt. We have the smoking guns.

In banishing me, Rosen pretty much validates my entire thesis concerning him, but also his tribe of leftard journo sychophants:

They are a cloistered set of intellectual inbreds with no clue what they don't know.

Splash, out

Jason

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Is Obama part of the Investor Class? 
I'm no Obama fan. But the Wall Street Journal's John Fund gets this very wrong:

Ryan Ellis of the American Shareholders Association has examined the Obama returns for calendar years 2001 to 2006 and found that, in all of those years, the couple reported a mere $1,188 in dividends in 2006 and another $2,754 in dividends in 2005. In the previous years, they reported no dividends of any kind.

Indeed, even though Michelle Obama had income from the University of Chicago's Hospital System that exceeded $1 million during the period the tax returns were filed, she appears to have neither a 401(k) plan nor an IRA for retirement contributions. In another sign the Obama household wasn't into building a nest egg, the couple cashed out $6,260 from a pension or 401(k) plan in 2000.

Given all this, Mr. Ellis asks why the Senator is so "hell-bent on pursuing punitive taxes on capital that would wreck America's retirement savings?" His answer: Perhaps it's "because, by and large, he doesn't have any skin in the game."


This is just cruddy reporting, and an example of how to smear someone with bad statistics. It's also an example of a middle class reporter who just doesn't understand the personal finances of the wealthy.

First of all, with Michelle pulling in income of 1 million over that period, that would put them in the highest marginal tax bracket right there. I'd be avoiding dividend income, too. Why take dividends, when you can continue to shelter and compound tax deferred in non-dividend-paying stocks (like Berkshire Hathaway, for instance.)

Second, because stock dividends as a percentage of market capitalization is quite low,that 2,754 in dividend income could well come from a six-figure diversified stock portfolio.

Third, of COURSE she doesn't have an IRA for retirement contributions, moron!!! She's not eligible to contribute!!! She's way, way above the income threshold.

Likewise, because of her income, she may very well fall under the "top hat" provisions that restrict highly-compensated employees from participating in 401(k) programs directly.

Instead, she may be participating in a deferred compensation plan of some sort, for example, and they would do well to keep what they could in appreciating non-dividend-paying assets, and possibly real estate.

Indeed, had Fund or the Shareholders' Associaton twitbird done 20 seconds of research, they would easily have found that in 2006, Obama had between 100k and 250k EACH in the Vanguard Wellington fund and the Wellesley Income fund, and between 1,000 and 15,000 with Bill Gross in the PIMCO Total Return fund. They also have over $50,000 invested with the Illinois State Pension fund, and between $1,000 and $15,000 EACH in Goldman Sachs large cap investor shares and Marshall Midcap investor shares, as well as an option to purchase thousands of shares of Tree House Foods.

Interestingly, they did not attempt to quantify the value of these options at the time.

During 2006, Obama sold over $50,000 in bonds and additional thousands in several stock funds.

So this assertion that the Obamas are 'not part of the investment class' is a nasty little ignorant partisan lie.

Splash, out

Jason
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Media AWOL from Iraq 
Paul McLeary, a recently embedded reporter in Iraq, writes this analysis in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Five years into the war, news organizations have understandably cut back a bit, given the immense cost of maintaining a Baghdad bureau. From life insurance for reporters to guards, armored cars (which not all bureaus have), and fortified houses outside of the Green Zone, reporting from Iraq is an incredibly expensive proposition.

But embedding with infantry units is free. Flights to Kuwait, where the Army public affairs team picks you up and puts you on a military aircraft to Iraq, and insurance still cost, but once you’re embedded, your expenses end. And that’s why I can’t understand why every major news organization doesn’t have one reporter embedded with a combat unit at all times. They won’t always be able to file stories, but they can contribute a steady stream of material about the fight—and the ground-level diplomacy—being waged by young American captains, lieutenants, and sergeants. The fact that I spent four weeks in Iraq and only ran into one stringer working for an American newspaper is testament to how few reporters are out in the field. Of course, there are reporters in Iraq, and my time bouncing between combat outposts constitutes an official census; but it is significant that in every unit I was with, I was the first reporter they had seen. It was the same story back in 2006, with I embedded with the 2nd Marine Division in Fallujah.


Keep that in mind the next time some MSM cretin tries to reach some conclusion based on their "analysis" of the war as reported by the media.

The resources to embed are there. And even modest sized media outlets can afford to embed a reporter.

But they'd rather spend their precious and scarce resources assigning another reporter to cover Britney Spears. Or fully staffing the Home and Design sections of the paper.

Splash, out

Jason

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary Lied About Bosnia Trip 
This has been going around for a while. But some Democrat lies are too blatant even for CBS.



Hillary cheapens the experiences of everyone who ever DID have to brave sniper, mortars, and the like.

Splash, out

Jason

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Monday, March 24, 2008

The Foggy Dew 
Those of you who know me well, or have been readers of this blog for a while, know that I am an enthusiastic - ok, obsessive - practitioner of Irish traditional music, mostly on fiddle and guitar.

Last night was a particularly rare treat...I had the opportunity to share a few sets with Mr. Sean Keane, most well known for his work with The Chieftains over the last nearly 40 years.

Wow.

Also present, Jeff, a close friend and Bodhran player who may wish to remain anonymous to further identification with me (lest his radical leftist employee desert him for it!) and Paraic Keane, Sean's son, a friend, and an amazing musician himself.

Wish I had it on tape. We were playing major league, Hall of Fame level ball for one of the best 40 minutes of my life.

I meant to post this on Easter, but didn't get to it... (little did I know I'd be playing with one of the players on this very video on Easter Sunday!) but here are the Chieftains, with a wonderful vocal appearance by Sinead O'Connor: The Foggy Dew.



If you have a favorite Chieftains musical moment, please post it in the comments.

Splash, out

Jason

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Anti-War Protesters Throw Fake Blood At Easter Worshippers At Catholic Church in Chicago 
Gateway Pundit has the story, with pics.

Meanwhile, Countercolumn's cameras were there:





Me, I would have caught the nearest one and reenacted Good Friday with the sorry-assed bastard, and felt quite justified in the act, having first been assaulted with what I would have had to assume to have been actual blood.

Actually, if I could have gotten my hands on one of these scuzzhumpers, there would have been blood shed.

Splash, out

Jason

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Reporters and the military 
Robert Bateman on media incompetence:

My hobby-horse has only two legs, “education” and “experience.” Unfortunately, prior to 2003, in the general field of “the media” those legs did not support the body, which I call “military knowledge.” (Or “knowledge of the military”) In other words, right up until we actually went to war there was damned little personal knowledge or experience with things military among the overwhelming majority of reporters. Up until 2001 it would appear that most people would say, “so what?” Well, I suggest that it was this lack of knowledge and understanding, both in the media and among the people of Congress, which muted discussion or debate prior to our current conflicts.

I am not saying that this is right or wrong. That is for all of you to decide. But it would appear that in the absence of deep knowledge of military history, the present-day military, and things like military doctrine, there were not nearly enough reporters who were able to cogently examine public pronouncements about the use of force and frame useful follow-on questions for deeply reported stories. Stories which, in theory, would help educate the American public before the decision on the use of force was made. Indeed, though I have no formal study which contains hard numbers (Greg, help me out here) my own interactions with journalists over the past couple decades seems to suggest that only a vanishingly few have any real experience with the military. And covering the military, or writing about the planned use of military force, is not like covering the local town council meeting. This state of unpreparedness, I submit, is at least partially a fault of our journalism education system.

On another site, “Wired Journalists,” I did an informal survey of a few dozen journalism programs (a few dozen is moderately significant in journalism school terms), and not a single one had a course, or an instructor, which dealt exclusively with covering the military or war or issues of that ilk. Does this matter? That, again, is for you to decide. But this is 2008…and we have been in conflict for more than six years, and not a single one of those journalism programs thought to add a course on the topic?


Read the whole thing.

The comments, which are essentially a circus of articulate libtards making excuses for their rank ignorance - and Bateman no doubt trying to restrain himself from pointing out how hopelessly stupid and obtuse they are (I have less patience for fools than he does) are particularly illuminating.

Splash, out

Jason

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

McCain, Iran and Al Qaeda 
So the libtards and other apologists for Islamofascism have their miserable knickers in a twist over John McCain's linking Iran to Al Qaeda in a couple of recent appearances.

The thing is, they're wrong. McCain is right. There have been a number of documented connections between Iran and other extremist groups, both Sunni and Shia, to include, specifically, Al Qaeda, as they make common cause to undermine American power and attempt to drive us out of the region.

From the Washington Post, in 2004:

On Iran, by contrast, the report concludes that al Qaeda's relationship with Tehran and its client, the Hezbollah militant group, was long-standing and included cooperation on operations, the officials said. It also details previously unknown links between the two, including the revelation that as many as 10 of the Sept. 11 hijackers may have passed through Iran in late 2000 and early 2001 because Iranian border guards were instructed to let al Qaeda associates travel freely, sources familiar with the report have said.

[9/11] Commission and government officials emphasize that they have found no indication that Tehran knowingly helped in the plot. But the commission report will cite evidence that Iran allowed al Qaeda members into the country even after the attacks.

The Sept. 11 panel has also raised the possibility that al Qaeda may have had a "yet unproven" role in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, which killed 19 U.S. servicemen and has been blamed on a Saudi Hezbollah group. Iran is a primary sponsor of Hezbollah, or Party of God, which the United States considers a terrorist group.

Many of the commission's findings about Iran were discovered only in recent weeks from, among other sources, electronic intercepts and interrogations of al Qaeda suspects in U.S. custody, sources familiar with the commission's findings said. Even before then, Chairman Thomas H. Kean (R), a former New Jersey governor, said, "There were a lot more active contacts, frankly, with Iran and with Pakistan than there were with Iraq."


See this, also, from Time Magazine: 9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between Al Qaeda, Iran

And this, too, from Peter Brooks

Shockingly, it's been long forgotten that Iran became home to some of al Qaeda's most wanted after the fall 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Tehran admitted as much, claiming that al Qaeda operatives were under "house arrest" and would be tried.

Of course, nothing of the sort happened . . .

So al Qaeda "refugees" from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, North Africa and Europe — including senior military commander Saif al Adel, three of Osama's sons and spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith — now operate freely from Iran.

In fact, just last week, the German monthly magazine Cicero, citing Western intelligence sources, claimed that as many as 25 al Qaeda thugs are living in Iran under the protection of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Cicero cites a "top-ranking" Western intelligence official saying, "This is not incarceration or house arrest. They [al Qaeda members] can move around as they please." The IRGC even provides logistics help and training to al Qaeda.

Cicero doesn't mention which al Qaeda operations Iran is supporting, but there's little doubt that Tehran is aiding the terror in Iraq, where there are more and more Iranian "fingerprints" on insurgent/terrorist attacks.


These ignoramuses have been taking it as an article of faith that Sunnis and Shias will never make common cause against a Western enemy. But you have to look no further than the cooperation of the Sunni Hamas and the Shia Hezbollah against Israel to disprove their stupidity.

Iran and Al Qaeda will befriend any friend and oppose any foe in order to ensure the survival and success of tyrrany. In the short term, they will even befriend each other.

Splash, out

Jason

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Governor Paterson 
So he comes out and says he and his wife both had affairs during a difficult period in their marriage.

I care not a whit - that's their business. But it's sad they felt the need to air that out before someone used it against them.

My first thought: I wish the Governor could see how beautiful his wife is.

Splash, out

Jason

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Monday, March 17, 2008

The Wearing of the Green 
In observation of St. Patrick, a brief military history of Cromwell's brutal quelling of the Catholic uprising in 1649.

The (Catholic) Confederates faced a disadvantage that negated the town's impressive fortifications, however: there was a traitor in their midst, Captain James Stafford. Had Stafford's treason not occurred, Wexford would no doubt have been a tougher nut to crack. On October 11, Stafford gave Cromwell entrance to the town. The scenes that followed mirrored those at Drogheda. Many Franciscans and other priests were killed. Three hundred women were massacred while standing at the cross in the public square. They had hoped that being near the cross would soften the hearts of the Christian soldiers. Instead it identified them as Catholics, and they were put to death. The churches were then destroyed. The total number of dead at Wexford was about 2,000.


We wear green in a spirit of revelry now. And we take the shamrock lightly. But there was a time and place where simply wearing a shamrock was a deadly serious act of political defiance, which could get you tortured and hanged.

Pleist amach,

Jason

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More on the aptly-named CAC 
Elevated from the comments section:

Amen! Amen! Remember Murphy's Law? "When the enemy can't get in, you can't get out." I'm in the IT section for a major Reserve command, and the CAC card issues are killing Reserve Soldiers. The active Army has given insufficient thought for how a Reserve Soldier is to get a CAC card reset. Weekends? Ha! Reserve Soldier lives 200 miles from the Army post? Too bad; just take a day off from your mortgage-paying job and drive 6 hours to get a CAC card reset. The AKO account password reset requires a military computer and you have seven days to get to one. No drill until next month and the drill center is 200 miles away? Sorry. No AKO access for you.
I feel your pain and frustration (literally as it is often directed at me and my personnel).
Obviously, name withheld as I continue to work these issues from the inside....


Yeah, I'm not withholding my name, obviously. I'm in the Army still because I believe in its mission and I love soldiers. Not because I need the job. Actually, it's getting increasingly difficult to balance against the full-time gig.

Honestly, I believe the CAC reader situation, and the disdain with which the powers that be treated reserve component soldiers, has a lot to do with a lot of officer's decisions to get out after their original 8-year hitches are up. More and more stuff is happening on AKO, and the Army keeps putting more and more hurdles in the way of access.

The problem, in Florida, has been compounded by the Army's decision to kick all M-day soldiers off the network. You need to have your CAC card plugged in just to check your email, and you can't get on the Internet unless you're an AGR soldier.

Until recently, I couldn't go to the Armory and check my own email or download a training document on my own account. As a company commander. I was refused access to the State network, despite repeated requests. I'm leveling with all readers: The stupidity nearly drove me out of the Guard. It would have me seriously think about whether I wanted to command a unit again.

Furthermore, the system is a slap in the face to Guard soldiers. The heart and soul of the Guard and reserve are the M-Day soldiers. Not the full-timers. My platoon leaders cannot do their jobs at drill, because the IT people have decreed that our drilling reservists are second class citizens.

Any fixes are slow in coming, and only after much screaming. After a year, I finally got issued a card reader. Not that I've ever been able to get the thing to work. I'm not sure anyone else has either. I only got 15 for the whole company, even though everyone's required to authenticate their cards using a CAC reader.

Last year, the AKO message boards were alive with reserve component officers telling the AKO staff that their system sucked, that it wasn't realistic for reserve component soldiers, and that the inane requirements were going to drive them off of AKO altogether.

I eventually had to take much of a day off work to go get my CAC card activated. I did on a drill on a Friday. The center's all the way in Miami, and not open on weekends. I'm not going to make my employer pay the price for the Army's IT system by taking a day off my rent paying job. I'm in enough hot water with employers for drills and AT as it is (Yes, I almost got fired for being a Guard member twice in the last three years).

So the Army paid a Captain - and a van load of other officers - to go stand in line in an office somewhere, rather than supervise and plan training.

Sound like a good idea to you? Not me.

The poor underlings on the AKO staff kept responding "we understand your concerns, but this is just the way it's going to be."

My attitude...How it is I can be trusted to sign a 5 million dollar property book, but not trusted to check my own email - or have to beg an already busy full-timer to log in to the network on his CAC card (and exposing him to article 15 if I type in the wrong URL) is beyond me. Only an IT dork could come up with that logic. Maybe it looked good in the Powerpoint brief. But no unit commander ever would have come up with that system.

The way I perceived it, the whole thing was a finger in the eyes of the reserve component.

Don't get me wrong...there is a lot of great stuff happening on AKO. It's not all bad at all. Just the way reserve component troops were treated in the process was bad.

And yes, I've pretty much told my chain of command the same thing already, many times over. Which is why no one saw this rant up til now, in the 2 years it's been building up.

I love the Army. I hate the stupid CAC changeover.

Splash, out

Jason

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Baby's got Mac!!! 
That's right. After years of sniggering at those obnoxious, hipper-than-thou, Air America-listening, latte-swilling, tiny-little-square-frame-glasses wearing Mac-using dweebs, simultaneously questioning their masculinity and their femininity, I went over to the dark side and bought myself a MacBook Pro.

Why?

Well, as a WiFi warrior and a frequent Starbucks/Panera/Borders writer, surfer and blogger, I was getting increasingly annoyed with the startup and shutdown times on my windows-based PC. My other workhorse computer was a Compaq, which was replacing a Toshiba (that got stolen), which was replacing a Dell Inspiron that I got in Iraq (sturdy, but ugly and clunky, and has the same operating system challenges as the Compaq.

Anyway, I was becoming aware that with all the extranneous crap that was loading into the RAM every time I turned it on, and then getting dumped everytime I turned it off, I was probably blowing 30 minutes or more in wait times every day.

I could screw with the startup menu and dump programs, but it never fully addressed the problem. Virus scans found viruses, but never seemed to appreciably increase performance. I tried a store bought computer performance registery doctor kind of program (forget which one now) but the software never could make contact with its host, and for some stupid reason, I never could get it fully functional. It helped in the short run, but programs were still getting hung up.

Plus, I was only getting about 90 minutes of battery life out of the Compaq.

So I began to consider switching to the dark side.

As a creative professional (I've been making a living in a strange combination of sales, copywriting, and advertising planning and brokering for the last few years, plus music and National Guard duty), I've been around Macs. And from 2004 to early 2006 an Apple G3 was my primary computer.

I was disappointed with the G3. I lost a lot of work and productivity due to the Whirling Beach Ball of Death, and the necessity of having to physically unplug the thing and reboot entirely. It also didn't display the GUI buttons on Blogger (long time readers will recall a period in 2004-2005 when I didn't hotlink during the week, but just copied and pasted URLs into the text instead. That's because the G3's operating system was choking on Blogger. Also, the G3 choked on any content from the Washington Post, making it almost unreadable.

The Mac Powerbooks looked crappy and cheap to me. I need a fair amount of screen space, because I do a lot of editing and I like to see documents side by side. The Powerbooks were too small and felt cramped. The MacBook Pros spread out a lot more, and look much sturdier. They look elegant, even. But I was more interested in function than looks.

I did buy an iMac for my Mom, who's not computer savvy at all. She just wanted to be able to turn it on, check her email and surf the Web. I got her the Mac, because I didn't want her to have to worry about drivers, viruses, virus scans, etc. She needs a 'fire-and-forget' system. The iMac seemed like the way to go for her.

I didn't pay full price for the Pro. I went through the military discount program Apple has, which takes about 10% of the cost off the top. I'm no Megan McArdle, but I did find myself lusting over the larger screen size. I couldn't justify the cost for the larger screen, though. Those extra two inches would have cost over a thousand dollars. A good metric for a porn star, perhaps, but not a good metric for a copywriter, musician and soldier.

I've been using it now for about 3 weeks. My thoughts:

This thing smokes.

Granted, it's not fair to compare it with the performance of a computer that's a couple of years old and has been on every unsecure network in the world. But it smokes, nevertheless. Full bootup in under 30 seconds, max.

Which means I can hit the power button, reach for the power cord, plug it in, and OS X is ready and waiting by the time I get to emptying the Equal packets into my coffee.

Shut down is in under 10 seconds.

Which means that when it comes time to jettison that coffee, I'm not desperately fighting to control my bladder waiting for 5 minutes for this thing to shut down, nor am I running into six different popup windows saying "The program is not responding."

I HATE those. What's up with that crap?

The bottom line: I just added about a half hour of productive computing time to my day. Maybe more.


Second observation: While I don't have the full Adobe creative suite, with Dreamweaver, photoshop, etc. (I don't do graphics. Not that I'm opposed to doing them. I just haven't invested the time in learning that craft. I'd rather focus on being the best copywriter in the business rather than a mediocre designer), the applications that do come with the package I bought - Numbers (a spreadsheet application), Pages (a series of design templates for newsletters, resumes, proposals, business cards etc.,) are excellent, intuitive, and easy to use.

Not professional quality design tools, by any means. But I can generate a reasonable brochure or catalog for anyone pretty quickly with it. Haven't gotten too deeply into Numbers yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

It's obvious, though, that the Mac folks designed these machines and the operating system with the creative professional in mind. Microsoft couldn't give a rat's ass about the creative professional, which is why creatives don't use them. The PC makers want gamers.

Further, I love the magnetic coupling between the power supply and the computer. Simple, effective, brilliant.

Finally, I'm getting nearly four hours of battery time from this thing. Which doesn't seem like a big deal. But when you're a WiFi warrior it's a huge plus. It means I can compute from whereever I want, and I don't have to worry about whether there is an AC power source available. If the seats near the plugs are taken, it doesn't matter. I have hours of productivity before I even have to worry about it. I can sit in the comfy chairs rather than the Romper Room furniture at the local Starbucks. I can choose a a larger table rather than a tiny one because it's near the outlet. I can sit next to the pretty girl rather than the Ogre.

All in all, a major addition to my lifestyle, and well worth the price I paid for it, in my situation.

Now the downsides and tradeoffs:

- I do miss the right-click feature. Yes, I'm getting better at using the keyboard shortcuts. But would it KILL Apple to figure out how to put a right button on the laptop? I mean, really!

- Apple's Mail program does not seem to get along with gmail. I'm trying to migrate from Hotmail to Gmail, because 3/4ths of what I get on Hotmail now is Spam. And I'd like to use the Apple Mail program. But I just can't get the two to talk to each other. Yes, I googled all the usual solutions.

- The U.S. Army's IT people are idiots when it comes to - well, just about everything. But when it comes to integrating on a Mac, they're hopeless. I owe someone an OER, but the Army Knowledge Online system does not seem to respond well with Macs. And unless you have a PhD in computer science, forget about installing a CAC reader!!! (Don't get me started on the idiots who came up with the CAC transition on AKO! All of them have government jobs, obviously. And they don't give a damn about reservists with real private sector jobs who don't get paid to screw around trying to get their computers to interact with the Army network)

- A lot of video content doesn't play on the Mac out of the box. You'd think a computer known for being media-friendly would figure this out, but they don't. You get a message saying the browser doesn't have the right kind of MIME plug-in, and you get directed to the Microsoft page to download the plug-in.

That makes me want to pull my hair out. If they know exactly where to get the plug-in out of the box, then why don't they install the frigging plug-in to make it work from the get go!?!?!? Well, I'll tell you why, because the plug-in DOESN'T WORK!

It took me about an hour and a half of Googling and trying different fixes.Plug-ins, programs, freeware, you name it. And there are people out there who thought of everything. Well, everything that is, except installing RealPlayer.

Worked like a charm.

So if you get one, don't waste any time. Install RealPlayer the minute you get it.

I have not noticed any appreciable improvement in interactivity with my iPhone yet. But that may happen with future versions of the software. I'm sure Apple will be looking to create a competitive mote, in various ways.

I do miss the ability to send pictures in Yahoo. Well, I don't mind it so much, but my friends would rather see the pics in a viewing window than download them as files that have to be opened separately. That's not a huge deal for me, though. Mostly it's my friends that bitch about that.

Overall, though, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. If you're not worried about connectivity with poorly-designed intranets, and you aren't highly price-sensitive, I highly recommend making the switch.

Splash, out

Jason

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Honoring our wounded...in our own way 
Very moving story from the Wall Street Journal.


Cpl. Kenny Lyon's mother pushed his wheelchair down a narrow Pentagon hallway, crying as she listened to the applause.

Hundreds of Defense Department employees lined the corridor, cheering for Cpl. Lyon and the other wounded military personnel who walked or rolled past. Some of them patted Cpl. Lyon on the shoulder, while others shook his hand or leaned in to hug his mother, Gigi Windsor.

"I was really humbled by it because I didn't do anything special," says Cpl. Lyon, a 22-year-old Marine who lost a leg in a mortar attack near Fallujah. "I went to Iraq to do a job, and I got injured and actually couldn't do it. So why was I getting honored?"

Cpl. Lyon was taking part in a little-known event called the Wounded Warrior March, which brings military personnel who suffer serious injuries in Iraq or Afghanistan to the Pentagon for a parade unlike any other.

The events, held roughly every six weeks, are notable for their simplicity. No speeches are given, no dignitaries march alongside the veterans and cameras are banned. The parades are closed to the public, except for friends and relatives of the injured soldiers and Marines taking part. Military officials don't tout the program to the press.


Thank you, brothers and sisters. I can't thank you enough.

The press and the usual dignitaries ought to reflect on why it is the military family doesn't think they should be invited.

If they're listening.

Splash, out

Jason

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Moojies send severed fingers of hostages to US officials 
I think we should return the favor, except with 100 times the number of severed moojie heads. Wrapped like filet mignon in bacon.

"Men avenge small offenses. They cannot avenge large ones."
-Niccolo Machiavelli


But I understand there may be some Geneva Convention technicalities to work out.

Nevertheless, a good lawyer doesn't tell you what you can't do. He tells you HOW to do what you want to do legally. I think it's time we got some ROI out of those coddled JAGgies at CENTCOM.

I think they need something better to do with their time than veto good attacks and prosecute good soldiers doing their jobs. Maybe this is the ticket.

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School backs down 
The school that suspended that kid and stripped him of his title as class vice president backed down.

I'd like to think I helped make a difference.

Splash, out

Jason

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Admiral Fallon 
Good riddance.

To see why Tuesday's "retirement" of Navy Adm. William "Fox" Fallon as head of U.S. Central Command is good news, all you have to do is look at the Esquire profile that brought about his downfall.

Its author, Thomas P.M. Barnett, a former professor at the Naval War College, presents a fawning portrait of the admiral -- a service he previously performed for Donald Rumsfeld. But evidence of Fallon's supposed "strategic brilliance" is notably lacking. For example, Barnett notes Fallon's attempt to banish the phrase "the Long War" (created by his predecessor) because it "signaled a long haul that Fallon simply finds unacceptable," without offering any hint of how Fallon intends to defeat our enemies overnight. The ideas Fallon proposes -- "He wants troop levels in Iraq down now, and he wants the Afghan National Army running the show throughout most of Afghanistan by the end of this year" -- would most likely result in security setbacks that would lengthen, not shorten, the struggle.


Sorry, if you can't commit as totally and to victory as the soldiers in the field, you don't need to be CENTCOM commander.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Honor Student suspended for buying a bag of Skittles in school. 
It violated the school wellness program.


Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate.

The New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a district-wide school wellness policy, said school spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo.

Shelli Sheridan, Michael's mother, said he is a top student with no previous disciplinary problems.

"It's too much. It's too unfair," she said. "He's never even had a detention."

Michael's suspension has been reduced from three days to one, but he has not been reinstated as class vice president.

He said he didn't realize his candy purchase was against the rules, but he did notice that the student selling the Skittles on Feb. 26 was being secretive.

An administrator busted Michael with the candy in his pocket. His mother says the student who sold him the Skittles out of a lunch box was also suspended.



As I've always said, the problem with school shootings is that they always seem to shoot too many students and teachers and not enough administrators.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Greenwald on Spitzer 
Who cares if someone not your spouse hires prostitutes?

Here's who should care: Every one in the state who relies on the fair enforcement of law. The bottom line is that the chief executive of the state left the door wide open to blackmail.

Unless Greenwald is so naive to think that the organized crime ring that ran the prostitution business had no other interests, nor had any reason to sell that information to another actor who would be willing to use the information to blackmail the governor.

This is true whether or not you believe that prostitution should be legalized.

Oh, and Greenwald's a dolt. He's a lawyer? Anyone can see this.

Splash, out

Jason

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Friday, March 07, 2008

The mortgage crisis 
Explained.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

2 killed, others wounded, in Palm Beach Wendy's Shooting Rampage 
I saw that professional agitator in the red pigtails on TV...and I knew he would turn violent. It was only a matter of time.

Unfortunately, this latest tragedy is simply the latest in an ongoing string of Wendy's-related violence.

As for Wendy's itself, this tragic and senseless event http://www.wendys.com/about_us/news/- although a statement on their home page said that Wendy's is passionate about giving people what they deserve.

Splash, out

Jason

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Tiochfaidh Allah!!! 
Am I the only one who noticed that Al Qaeda's number 2 cretin is named Eamonn O'Seawargharaigh?

Tulga mach,

Jason

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Fiddle Blogging 
South Florida's own adopted son, my own fiddle teacher. Well, for three lessons, anyway, and a great, great master of the art.

James Kelly.



Splash, out

Jason

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