Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Does anyone else find it humorous that you need to be "permitted" to stage a "protest"?

NEW YORK, Aug 23 (Reuters) - An Arab-American organization and an anti-war group lost a bid on Monday to hold a joint civil rights rally in New York's Central Park two days before the Republican convention. A federal judge refused to order New York City to grant a rally permit because he said the two groups failed to provide property damage control plans for a gathering expected to draw about 75,000 people on the park's Great Lawn on Saturday.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Riddle Me This....

from Robert Nardelli (previously a possible successor to Jack at GE), who's first order of business at HD was to replace every GE lightbulb with Sylvania...


I was wondering why all those people were walking on the highway pushing home electric lawn mowers and electric power washers...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Additions and Deletions to the Games of the Summer Olympiad

Deletion: Badminton
Addition: Golf

Deletion: Equestrian
Addition: Horse Racing

Deletion: Handball
Addition: Dodgeball

Deletion: Judo and Taekwondo
Addition: Ultimate Fighting

Deletion: Rythmic Gymnastics
Addition: Nascar

Deletion: Table Tennis
Addition: Beer Pong

Deletion: Trampoline
Addition: Motocross

Deletion: Shooting
Addition: Texas No-Limit Poker

I believe these adjustments would help them fill the seats!

Friday, August 13, 2004

GET LONG .... In the past 6 trading sessions, the S&P has pulled back 3.1% on concerns over Olympic security, increasing hostilities in Najaf, and surging oil prices (somewhat bolstered by the Venezuelan recall). However, the Olympic ceremonies will most likely be non-event, al-Sadr and his merry men are ready to throw in the towel, and it appears as if the impoverished Venezuelans will keep Chavez in office (thereby foregoing any oil shortages). Most technicians (including our own) are looking for a whoosh down before a tradable rally may occur. This is precisely why there will be no whoosh down before a relief rally occurs. Perhaps additional exposure to equities, hedged with downside puts in the insurance/travel/lodging sector might be the right play here…

Wondering Why Security Loves My Gym Clothes...

Although I'm not quite in the Michael Moore camp, I do feel the terrorist threat is less severe than the current administration would leave you to believe. Even if our citizenry were faced with daily suicide or truck bombings such as the residents of Israel, Turkey, and Iraq, life would go on. If life in these regions is as horrific as we are led to believe by the media, then why aren't these areas experiencing mass migrations?

Not to discredit the horrendous attacks of 9/11, but the damage was much more psychological than physical. Even if you had been in NYC on that awful day, there was a .06% chance of being physically harmed. Cancer, on the other hand, killed 350,000 americans last year- that equates to 1000 people a day! 32,000 males perished to prostate cancer alone. However, I am reminded of the terror threat everyday of my life when the security guard is rifling through my gym clothes, yet none of my friends have ever had a colonoscopy? Shouldn't we focus on the real terrors that are affecting our lives? I garner its just more entertaining to watch a hostage bound and gagged on his knees surrounded by masked cowards sporting AK-47s. Like the rest of us, I know the height, weight, and origin of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, but only recently found out that a PSA blood test is used to test for prostate cancer.

Just to clarify one thing, I'm all for the "war on terror". I'm for sending our special forces into every cave in the eastern hemisphere. I'm even for regime changes if it means instituting a democratic, better way of life, even for our supposed "enemies". However, we must draw the line somewhere as to where the war on "terror" becomes the war on "civil liberties". The handful of police and national guard standing outside the tunnel gawking at every blonde that drives by in a convertible and tacking on another 30 mins to my daily commute are not going to stop a truck full of aluminum nitrate headed towards the tunnel entrance. If I wanted to live in a war zone, I'd move to Baghdad...

A Good Friend Reminscing About Days Gone by on the 9th Anniversary of Jerry's Passing

Hey boys
Miss the shows, miss passing out on the roof of my car at the O'G compound only to be woken by an intense, musical tangent known as Dark Star but don't miss the hangovers. I remember a time in my life when I would listen to nothing but Jerry for, like, 18 months. What a run! The power of his spirit and the music that unearthed the spirituality in all of us, cannot be forgotten. Funny, Ian, that you should send this email. On Friday, I had risen early for my day and felt the sliver of coolness in the air pry open my eyes. It felt like a show day, so I popped in some Jerry and was goin' down the road, feeling sad! Sad that yesteryear had passed but grateful for the gifts I have today. That afternoon, I went outside for a reprieve and the coolness was still present and I reminisced of being in a field, a parking lot, a show, with my boys and Cap't Trips. Total melancholy! I can't wait to hang with you guys in Chi-town to send our brother on another path of life just like Jerry sent us into another dimension of growth and experience. Hope all iswell, and sorry for sounding too gay-

Thank You Letter to CEO of Goldcorp

Thank you for the informative presentation. Under your management, Goldcorp appears to be well positioned in the mining space, and I have heard nothing but positive feedback since the luncheon.

I offer my condolences to you and your family on the loss of your mother and sister. Having lost my father in the past year, I can fully understand your motivations for realizing gains. I’m reminded of a short story in The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury called "Kaleidoscope." A rocket ship carrying a dozen or so astronauts explodes, scattering the crew members into outer space. They are flying apart at thousands of miles an hour in their spacesuits, fully conscious and able to communicate with one another, but individually they are alone and being hurled to their own deaths. As one man named Hollis careens toward the earth's atmosphere he listens to other people's final reflections, both happy and embittered, and he realizes he has never really lived but always played it safe, always envied people who had the guts to enjoy life and take chances, and he realizes for the first time that he has nursed a secret resentment against them. Yet nothing--not resentment nor cowardice nor regret--could do anything for him now:

"It was gone. When life is over it is like a flicker of bright film, an instant on the screen, all of its prejudices and passions condensed and illumined for an instant on space, and before you could cry out, 'There was a happy day, there a bad one, there an evil face, there a good one,' the film burned to a cinder, the screen went dark. From this outer edge of his life, looking back, there was only one remorse, and that was only that he wished to go on living. Did all dying people feel this way, as if they had never lived? Did life seem that short, indeed, over and done before you took a breath? Did it seem this abrupt and impossible to everyone, or only to himself, here, now, with a few hours left to him for thought and deliberation?"

So in Hollis' final desperate moments he realizes that there isn't anything good he can do to make up for the lost years because now he is all alone. The realization has come too late and there is no one around that he can do good to. But then he thinks: "Tomorrow night I'll hit Earth's atmosphere. I'll burn and be scattered in ashes all over the continental lands. I'll be put to use. Just a little bit, but ashes are ashes and they'll add to the land." This gives him some comfort. Then he thinks: "I wonder if anyone will see me?"

Meanwhile on earth: "The small boy on the country road looked up and screamed, 'Look, Mom, look, a falling star!' The blazing white star fell down the sky of dusk in Illinois. 'Make a wish,' said his mother. 'Make a wish . . .'"

Through your suffering and subsequent enlightenment, I am inspired to see you have figured out Hollis’ conundrum ahead of schedule.

Best wishes,
Ian King

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Stem-Cell Rhetoric, not Research

At the DNC, Kerry pushed stem-cell research to the forefront of his campaign platform, mentioning it more than unemployment and abortion combined. Both he and Hillary Clinton promised to “lift the ban on stem-cell research”. John Edwards even claimed, “It is against our national character to look the other way when people are suffering.” Harsh words indeed, albeit quite off-base.

Contrary to Clinton and Kerry’s claims, there is no “ban on stem-cell research”. In fact, on Aug 9, 2001, Bush authorized federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, limiting it to cell lines created before the date. Not only is it unrestricted in the private sector, but state and local governments can fund it as they wish. The federal govt spent nearly $200 million on adult stem-cell research last year and nearly $25 million on research involving the roughly 20 approved embryonic lines. Bush actually allowed, for the first time, the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.

So why do the dems insist deceiving us to think that stem cell research is banned by the pro-life-religious-fanatical-administration-who-wish-to-carry-the-Good-News-of-the-Lord-all-across-the-globe? Why not just call it what it is… a ban on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell lines derived after Aug. 9, 2001?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Below are some interesting points from my pro-Kerry, left-leaning uncle Gregory (with my own comments in italics)...

The whole point of Reverend Alston's speech is that John Kerry is prepared to take the battle to the terrorists, whether they are in Iran, or even in Afghanistan, where the current administration so miserably and incompetently failed to pursue them. Instead of "taking the fight straight to the enemy," President Bush sent fewer US troops to Afghanistan than the entire police force of Washington, DC! He allowed bin Laden to escape from our grasp at Tora Bora, and then diverted critical resources from the effort to destroy al Qaeda. With agents of terrorists working in more than 60 countries, he pursued a policy of preemption that has alienated the people of every single democracy in the world. The citizens of countries that have been our allies for more than a half century -- Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia -- by overwhelming margins tell pollsters that America is a greater threat to world peace than al Qaeda. For us to allow this to continue would be madness. Only in America, where our press is docile and bullied, is the true record of the Bush administration's incompetence not widely known.

>> The war in Afghanistan wasn't as much a disaster as Bush opponents would argue. There were strategic reasons as to why the administration sent only an optimal amount of troops to the region. The idea was to help the Northern Alliance run the oppressive Taliban back into their respective caves, and for the US not to be seen as an occupier. Also, the mountainous terrain and an opposition hiding in caves made the use of heavy infantry obsolete, so we opted for special forces recon units and strategic bombing missions. Although we have failed to capture bin Laden (some conspiracy theorists would argue we have but are waiting until closer to the elections to ensure an incumbent victory), with an unlimited amount of capital and a 6 month head start, I could hide you somewhere in Eurasia as well!

>>In a recent poll commissioned by the Asian Foundation, 64% of Afghan residents say the country is headed in the right direction; 81% say they plan to vote in the October election; 77% say they believe the elections "will make a difference"; and 64% say they rarely or never worry about their personal safety (whereas only 36% felt that way under the Taliban). These numbers sound more positive than surveys taken in the US! I would also note that it was the failure of the Clinton administration to effectively pursue the al Qaeda network after the original WTC bombing and the attack on the USS Cole.

President Bush has failed to skillfully wage the war on terror. The extent of his failure boggles the mind. You mention Iran. How did a man who is now branded by the CIA as a spy for Iran get into the President's box for the State of the Union speech? Why did the Pentagon fly an Iranian spy into Iraq with his private army and hope to set him up as Iraq's new leader? These are questions that remain unanswered, and even unasked by many Americans. When did we begin to emulate Iran and question the importance of the Geneva Conventions? If we have another four years with this magnitude of incompetence and failure we may never overcome the very real threat that terrorist pose to us.

He's a spy, now. And thank goodness we caught him! My question is: how did Michael Moore get into the President's box at the DNC??

If we are serious about defeating the forces that seek to destroy our way of life, we will need a president who has the intelligence, judgment and experience to make the life and death decisions that will be required. If we know anything now, with more than 900 American lives destroyed by poor planning and feckless leadership, it is that our current president, while he may be strong and steadfast, lacks the judgment, the seriousness and the will to take the fight "into the teeth of the ambush." We are at war, and we are being led by an administration that is not up to the task. We need a commander in chief who will take our security and the lives of our people more seriously than the ill-prepared men (and one woman) who have gotten our nation into the worst position we have been in since the days when Washington and his troops were starving at Valley Forge.

>> I'm not exactly sure what the "teeth of the ambush" entails, and I don't think John Kerry will be any better than George Bush or Bill Clinton in explaining it either. I think the $38 billion we are currently wasting on "homeland security" could be utilized in many more positive ways (health care, education, ensuring social security). Let's face it- all the air marshals on planes, metal detectors in the airport, and security screenings at train stations to make us "feel" safer won't stop someone from walking onto a crowded subway strapped with an explosive . In order to defeat the terror networks, we need to determine the origin of their hatreds for the free world. Societal structures which create an enormous disparity in social classes leave many citizens oppressed and desperate. Desperate people resort to desperate measures, as they want to point the blame on everyone else, and not on themselves or the failures of their leaders to provide adequate standards of living. Democratically elected governments in Afghanistan and Iraq, which will eventually lead to better lives for millions of people, are steps in the right direction in the war on terror. Not only that, but these regime changes will someday prove to be more effective than any "homeland security" measures enacted domestically.

Let's just say, my feeling is that it's time for a change. It's time to take the War on Terror seriously. It's time for us to have a leader that the rest of the free world can respond to with respect. It is time for some competence and courage, even if it lacks charisma or charm. We will all be better off when we have a commander and chief who knows something about the world, who can start with a clean slate to engage the allies we will need on our side, and has the experience and judgment that are required if we are to win this war.

>> I can't disagree with you there, but couldn't we find a better candidate than John Kerry. He seems to have as many flaws as Bush. Also, I don't feel the need to elect a president to appease Europe, a continent where fertility rates are slightly above 1, making their social security system far more fragile than our own. When they start caring more about their own populations and well-being, then I will start listening to their opinions. And who's to say Kerry's Ivy-League arrogance will fare much better than Bush's shoot-em-up stereotype in the minds of the international community?

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