Monday, June 23, 2008

Is the Washington Post aiding the Enemy?

I was horrified to find an article in the Washington Post, suggesting that we should negotiate with the Taliban instead of sending more troops to Afghanistan. But then I looked at the source of the article. It was written by a Dr. Ali Ettefagh in Tehran, Iran. While I normally would not have made anything of such an article, the whole premise that we should negotiate with the Taliban just absolutely shocked me. It amazes me even more that the Washington Post would endorse in any way shape or form the policy that the article is espousing.

One need only look back 10 years when the Taliban were firmly in control of Afghanistan and blowing up religious symbols that had stood for a thousand years. They basically put the people and the country of Afghanistan into the dark ages, yet they themselves were allowed to use technology. Women were not allowed to be educated and strict Islamic extremist law was implemented, complete with public executions in facilities that were build for peaceful sporting exhibitions.

These are the same group of people that Dr. Ettefagh is suggesting that we negotiate with. All we need to do is take one look at some of the film from that era prior to 9/11 from Afghanistan and jump up and shout a resounding "No Way In Hell!"

While I am one who is definitely concerned with journalistic freedoms, I also have family members and friends who are currently fighting over seas and everything that they have fought for seems to be forgotten by the one paper that is supposed to be the supporter of American freedoms. My friends have died there and the things they gave their lives for, most of us take for granted. It is not a war about anything materialistic as has been suggested by many outlets. It is a war about doing the right thing. This is something that people who have become obsessed with President Bush have forgotten.

The article,, which does not even seem to matter to anyone at the post, is obviously pushing a very Iran centric theme. Negotiate till people are blue in the face. But the author tries very hard to compare the wars fought by the US after 9/11 to the drug wars of the 1990's.

The complete and utter failure of Dr. Ettefagh to understand that this is no 1990's drug war and that this is a war for the freedom of the Afghanistan people, only serves to highlight the fact that this article should not have been in the Washington Post in the first place. If this had happened during any other war we have fought over the history of the US, heads would have rolled and the owners of the paper would have been thrown in jail for treason.

Our papers in America are no longer the bastion for the red, white, and blue but are now the mouth pieces of our enemies and the Washington Post is right at the top of that list. Maybe the next time Bush names the Axis of Evil, he can include the Post in the list. While I do not necessarily agree with the policies of our government, I certainly do not endorse the undercutting of our brave men and women in uniform the way that this article does. It is a total dis-service to them and should be called for what it is; pure and utter rubbish which does not belong in a paper that would be read by the American people.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Plurking the Karma Thing

It is kind of funny that I have been using Plurk ( for the past month and have come to the realization that people are very much rank and rating oriented. Everyone complains about their Karma as it is called on the site.

Everytime people’s Karama reached a point where they got the benefits of having high karma (usually just colors and emoticons), they complained louder. The funny part is that over 30 percent of the messages on the site were about the Karma.

I find the whole rules thing with Plurk a bit annoying as well. It seems to me that just because someone has something interesting to micro blog, they should not be penalized for posting it just because they have posted more than 30 times in a day. But they do penalize you.

One more funny change is with the Karma growing as well as the number of users on the web site, they have begun to throttle those plurkers whose Karma is over 60. Real nice. You cant have anyone reaching 100 otherwise the balance and the game would be pointless.

For me, I just ignore all of it. I find that the conversations posted are 90% of the time well worth the dozen or so replies. You will find that the items on the site with the most replies are generally things of value although occaisionally, one of my food or coffee plurks draws more replies than the news plurks that I have become known for.

When Social Networking began to become an item, many people thought of Facebook or Myspace, but these days it is more about Twitter ( and Plurk and for good reason. No bulky items cluttering the user’s pages and the sites are all about communicating. If we had these sites 10 years ago, the world would be much more at peace. It is funny but I have rarely seen anything negative in my adventures of Plurking or being onTwitter. Maybe we should make all world leaders join just to see how they would handle it or make it a pre-requisite for becoming president.

For those of you who follow me on the social networking sites, I have added a partial list of the sites I am on. You can find me there and feel free to give me a holler or a request to be a friend.

My Social Networking Sites
Twitter (
Plurk (
Pownce (
Bright Kite (

My personal Sites
Virtual Apple II ( (
A Voice from the Minor Leagues (
Bill Martens Photography (

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

World Records on the Internet

Today, Firefox is attempting to set a world record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours with the release of their newest version of the Firefox Browser. While this attempt is seen on the surface as just a really cool idea, it has serious undertones for the Internet at large.

With an approximate 30-50 million users all trying to download the same software from the same servers all in the same day, I can see some serious slow downs on networks occurring very rapidly. Until now most of these type of slowdowns have been related to social networked viruses that made their way through the home computers and office PC's of millions of users all over the world.

But this slowdown that will result will be the direct result of people purposely trying to download a new software package. Having just upgraded to FF3 RC3, I, for one will not be participating in the download. This is not because I don't want the latest version but it is primarily due to the fact that I do not want to contribute to the willful destruction of the Internet as we know it. Besides, I can download the new release tomorrow or the next day and it is not going to make much difference in my experience with Firefox.

Slowdowns in places like India where the Internet is already at a crawl, could place so much burden on these locations that they will be cut off from the rest of the world for several days. I am sure there are several multinational conglomerates around the world that will not appreciate the inability to communicate with these offices.

While I have not seen anyone take the same approach as I, I am sure that once the Internet starts to slow down, people will either give up on the Internet for the day. However, there are those who can not escape having to use the Internet. Financial institutions all over the world already use the Internet as their primary resource for communications but if they suddenly can not send or receive trades, updates or End of Day items, there could be some serious hell to pay. The losses financially could balloon into a number of the sort that we have been seeing with the Sub-Prime losses all over the globe.

My recommendation is that while this type of thing is fun and it is cool to say you set a record or were part of the record, I am saying, "Just say NO!"

Get Fire Fox --
World Record Attempt --

Friday, June 13, 2008

Is Mars Getting Closer?

Ok, I have to admit, the headline is a bit misleading. But it is more of a question of are we getting any closer to going to Mars? We have robots and rovers there but so far, not a single man has gone to any other planetary body since 1974 when Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt left Mare Serenitatis.

But this week, nasa at least got the ball rolling with the awarding of the design of the next generations spacesuits to a Houston based company, Oceaneering International, Inc. ( Of course, this is only half the battle but at least if the guys go anywhere they will have new spacesuits. It almost reminds me of the old Jose Jimenez jokes that Bill Dana did on the Steve Allen Show back in the 1960's. "Why, I even got a helmet and gloves!"

All joking aside, this is serious business. And with a $180 million contract, this type of business will provide a ton of good high paying engineering jobs. If the whole Mars trip costs $200 billion by the time man lands on Mars, this will be an adventure well worth it in economic growth and hopefully a bit of restored pride in both NASA and the US.

While politicians like to complain about the costs, they all know that these are the types of jobs that cant be shipped over seas or farmed out to third world countries. These types of jobs also allow for economic prosperity. It was the whole space program in the 1960's that caused the economy of the US to boom, even in a time of war. In spite of our fighting in Vietnam, we were still able to cause the average American consumer to actually have a high level of confidence in the basic economy, all the way until the oil shock hit.

Unfortunately, we are in the middle of another oil shock that is shaking the foundations of almost every country in the world, but this is primarily due to the fact that while the oil companies are making record profits, the workers have not benefited int he same way. If the US doesn't find a way to distract the American consumer at this point, all may be lost. Especially the space program which is the first to be cut any time that there are funding issues elsewhere.

In my book, if we make it to mars on the schedule that President Bush laid out, then it will be an absolute miracle worthy of the stories that are still told about the men who went to the moon. Will this be Bush's legacy? The man who brought Mars closer to us? Dont bet on it but hopefully as more contracts are awarded to US companies, we will find that the date of the trip and man setting foot on Mars will get closer with or without all of the external circumstances.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

ABC Sportscaster Jim McKay Dead

No one can forget the Wide Wold of Sports intro for ABC Sports or the way that Jim McKay was a mainstay in the world of announcing at a time when the sports world needed someone like him.

He announced almost any major sports event and the ones most people remember him for are 1972 and 1976 Olympic games. In 1972, the Israeli athletes were murdered and he was the one voice which came through with a sound of reason amongst the madness that followed the incident.

In 1976, it was he who presided over the games, announcing as Jim Walker won the 1500 and Bruce Jenner won the decathlon.

He began sports casting in 1961 and was a main stay in tv broadcasting during an era long ruled over by the great news casters of his day. But it was Jim McKay who with stood all the ups and downs and became beloved by many in his time.

We thank you for the memories Jim and wish there were others like you. Jim McKay was 86.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My new twitter like toy, Plurk

Over the past six months or so, I have posted over 3000 messages on twitter, put up with the ups and downs of the site and grown to love the site in spite of its short comings. That was until this week when I discovered the promised land of social networking micro blogging sites.

Plurk, has a flavor much like that of twitter, in fact most of the twitter folks are there. There is one distinct difference. Plurk allows you to take part in a pure conversation directly in the users plurk, creating a near real time conversation between many people, much like the party lines of old.

While it has a ways to go to be perfect, Plurk is definitely a step up from the singularity of the twitter world. It allows you to follow multiple discussions all within the same time frame with by the minute break down of the Plurk chain, making it easy to find discussions you are taking part in. Another nice feature is the fact that the handling of the microblogger follows similar patters to the twitter ones.

If you havent tried out Plurk yet, you should. Just a bit of fore warning. It is addictive and you will find yourself among the sleep deprived of your fellow Plurkers. But until you get to the point of completely screwing up your sleep patterns, have fun and enjoy the graphical interface.

My Plurk --
My Twitter --