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01/26/07 02:56 - 16ºF - ID#37879

Glenn Beck, Chief Putz of Quasi-News

Got a kick out of this article in the Washington Post about Glenn Beck, a TV commentator on Headline News who seems to always be on at the gym when chica and I go there in the evenings. God this guy is really annoying. For reasons I can't quite articulate, I find Nancy Grace super-annoying too. Maybe it's because these two seem as dumb as fenceposts, I dunno. Anyway, just before Christmas one was interviewing the other and I thought my head was going to explode.

Anyway the article is interesting (in a manner similar to a car wreck on the side of the highway) and I recommend it. On page two there's even a reference to the Beast:

[box]"The Beast, an alternative newsweekly in Buffalo, was even tougher, putting Beck on a list of 2006's most loathsome people, along with this description: "Even the leather-winged shouting heads at Fox News look like intellectual giants next to this bleating, benighted Cassandra. It's like someone found a manic, doom-prophesying hobo in a sandwich board, shaved him, shot him full of Zoloft and gave him a show."[/box]

If you look at the article be sure to read all the way to the end.

Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease,
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Category: stupidity

01/12/07 09:20 - 41ºF - ID#37658

dammit dammit dammit

Oh well, I wrote probably a 10-paragraph post in response to (e:Libertad) 's Hail Mary post but then I managed to lose it all like a stupid fucking idiot.

Dammit dammit dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sigh. OK, here's the short version of what I painstakingly wrote and then accidentally 86'd. Arrgh.

When the SecDef remarks that he's no military expert we could choose to be horrified. After all he's the Secretary of Defense! Shouldn't he be an expert on military matters?

Well, maybe not necessarily. The SecDef is the civilian head of the Pentagon, and he's responsible for running that entire bureaucracy. Part of his job is to provide civilian oversight of the military so it doesn't get out of control -- both in terms of developing its own agenda (and thus posing a potentional challenge or even threat to our elected officials) and in terms of ensuring that the military is not wasting taxpayers' money on unnecessary projects.

One of the things that Donald Rumsfeld was trying to do at the Pentagon was to force the US military to undergo a "defense transformation" -- namely, to make the US military faster, lighter, and more technologically sophisticated. Not a bad idea.

The bad idea was to try to make the invasion of Iraq a laboratory for a newly transformed military, for two reasons. First, because this defense transformation was still ongoing, and therefore not necessarily ready for a test; and second, because the SecDef is not necessarily the person you want to plan a military operation. We have generals who have studied for decades and who have trained for just this purpose.

In this case, Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, went against the generals' normal assumptions that an invasion of this kind requires more troops than seem necessary because of contingencies and post-conflict stablization operations.

So the SecDef's office was fighting two wars with the old, established military brass: one war to transfom the military as an institution, and one to shape the war strategy for Iraq.

That first war (transformation) was probably justified -- incorporating new technologies, reducing personnel demands, keeping an eye on unnecessary spending on outdated weapons platforms, all good. But fighting a war within the Pentagon to impose civilians' views on warfighting on the generals who were planning the invasion of Iraq (notably Gen Tommy Franks) -- maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

Sure, the initial invasion was pretty impressive -- the US military was able to successfully invade and enter Baghdad on the cheap. But as we've seen, it was a shortsighted strategy that failed to account for how to stabilize Baghdad and much of the rest of Iraq. After all, smart bombs are smart enough to strike the correct targets (most of the time) but they are not smart enough to talk with civilians, to negotiate truces, to do police work, and to build trust in new governing officials.

We could try to blame the flawed strategy on the generals -- but a lot of generals were uncomfortable with the 'lean' approach that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz favored. Unfortunately, those who spoke out were marginalized.

Anyway, there's a good case to be made that the civilians in the SecDef's office should not have tried to shape and micromanage the military strategy for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. By doing so they exhibited great hubris.

Seems to me that the new SecDef doesn't want to fall into this trap, and that he is trying to send a strong signal that he will leave the military planning to those who are experienced in it and who have trained for it. Let the Chiefs of Staff and let General Petraeus (who just spent months working with a team to write a new counterinsurgency manual for the US military) do what they need to do to implement the directives from our political leaders.

After all, the new SecDef is not a military expert -- Gates is an expert on intelligence and on running big bureaucracies. So he should focus on that, and let the generals do their jobs.

So should we be horrified that the SecDef publicly admits that he's not an expert in military matters? In a world where former SecDef Rumsfeld and his staff ran amok, I say I'm more relieved than horrified.

But that's just my take on it...

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01/07/07 01:08 - 41ºF - ID#37573

web programming, part III: success!

Thanks very much (e:paul) the new XHTML version works great, even in IE. ;-)

The home page looks almost exactly the same (that's the point, for anyone not paying attention) but it works much better. *poof* No more compatibility problem! Like magic.

Much obliged! You rock, (e:paul) .

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01/07/07 12:37 - 41ºF - ID#37572

web programming, part II

Big ups to (e:paul) for explaining the problem with my hover buttons and for offering a fix.

Of course Paul you're right about navigation from the home page not being dependent on java applets...sensible, very sensible.

I did figure out that in most cases IE will load the page and will allow navigation with the old hover buttons, as you predicted -- it just takes a preliminary click, then a follow-up click to actually load the linked page.

But this is definitely not optimal, and those with older versions of IE and with other browsers could easily be stuck on the home page with no way to navigate to others, so that's no good.

I'm going to try to implement (e:paul) 's CSS fix and I'm damn glad to have it. Thanks again, Paul.

If only I had time to update my webpage coding skills past 1998...

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Category: tv

01/06/07 04:55 - 45ºF - ID#37558

God, Inc.

Has anyone else seen this yet on YouTube?

Not as funny as say NBC's "The Office," but not half-bad.

If you are very religious and are easily offended, don't bother. It's not horribly sacrilegious but you wouldn't like it.

Episode 1

Episode 2

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Category: rip offs

01/03/07 10:02 - 40ºF - ID#37530

Verizon can blow me

My Verizon home phone bill went up $5+ this month without warning and without explanation.


Stupid phone company.

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01/02/07 05:23 - 37ºF - ID#37513

web programming peoples: help!

Hi peeps,

I just spent a couple of hours updating and spiffying up my personal website. Content is not quite done but the layout is pretty much the way I want it.

Trouble is, I have these old "hover" buttons on my home page. I rather like them, but the latest version of IE chokes on them. I assume they are not IE-compliant.

I'm not much of a coder -- all of my html is old and shitty, and I haven't a clue whether these buttons can be salvaged or not. Does anyone know how to fix my page so that the hover buttons will load in IE?

As much as I'd like to see everyone using Firefox (and yes, the page seems to load in Firefox) I just can't live with the idea that my homepage is inaccessible to all those misguided people who use IE...

Here's the offending page:

Thanks in advance for your help, peeps.
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