Take her seriously, but don’t panic

Peggy Noonan, on Mrs. Clinton seeking the presidency:

Republicans–I have been among many–are now in the stage of the Hillary Conversation in which they are beginning to grouse about those who keep warning that Mrs. Clinton will be a formidable candidate for president in 2008. She won’t be so tough, they say. America will never elect a woman like her, with such a sketchy history–financial scandals, political pardons, the whole mess that took place between 1980 and 2000.

I tell them they are wrong. First, it is good to be concerned about Mrs. Clinton, for she is coming down the pike. It is pointless to be afraid, but good to be concerned. Why? Because we live in a more or less 50-50 nation; because Mrs. Clinton is smarter than her husband and has become a better campaigner on the ground; because her warmth and humor seem less oily; because she has struck out a new rhetorically (though not legislatively) moderate course; because you don’t play every card right the way she’s been playing every card right the past five years unless you have real talent; because unlike her husband she has found it possible to grow more emotionally mature; because the presidency is the bright sharp focus of everything she does each day; because she is not going to get seriously dinged in the 2008 primaries but will likely face challengers who make her look even more moderate and stable; and because in 2008 we will have millions of 18- to 24-year-old voters who have no memory of her as the harridan of the East Wing and the nutty professor of HillaryCare.

The Hillary those young adults remember will be the senator–chuckling with a throaty chuckle, bantering amiably with Lindsey Graham, maternal and moderate and strong. Add to that this: Half the MSM will be for her, and the other half will be afraid of the half that is for her. (You think journalists are afraid of the right? Journalists are afraid of each other.) And on top of all that, It’s time for a woman. Almost every young woman in America, every tough old suburban momma, every unmarried urban high-heel-wearing, briefcase-toting corporate lawyer will be saying it. They’ll be working for, rooting for, giving to the woman.

I am of course exaggerating, but not by much.
Not to mention that the 18-24 crowd didn’t have, as usual, the voting impact in the 2004 election many hoped they would.

Taking away their shovels

Herman Cain:

“Congress doesn’t act unless there is a crisis,” one member of Congress once told me. That axiom is growing more apparent every day. Since many in Congress want to deny that we face crises in our economic infrastructure, the public must act now to remind them. We must demand urgent action to save our economic infrastructure. We must holler until they start to follow.

Instead of reading poll numbers, Congress must start reading thousands of e-mail messages from angry voters in their districts and states. Instead of listening to their political advisers, Congress must start listening to thousands of phone calls from people who are fed up with the income tax code, the dysfunctional Social Security structure, and runaway deficit spending. Instead of focusing on partisan politics and the next election, we must force Congress to focus on not leaving this mess for the next generation.

Let’s start with a few real simple and specific messages. Congress, replace the income tax code with a national sales tax modeled on the FairTax. Congress, pass legislation that includes optional personal retirement accounts for workers younger than 45 years of age using 4 percentage points of their payroll taxes. Congress, let’s enact a balanced budget amendment, since you have demonstrated that you cannot control your spending addiction.

Imagine what would happen if every member of Congress received this simple message every week from thousands of voters in their districts and states. Maybe then they will begin to see the same crises that we the people face every day.

Guarding your privates on campus

Mike S. Adams:

One FAL member’s monologue follows: “Hello, my name is Mary Man-Hating-Is-Fun. I am 23 years old, and I am what a feminist looks like. Ever since I learned to embrace my feminist nature, I found great joy in threatening men’s lives, flicking off frat brothers and plotting the patriarchy’s death. I hate men because they are men, because I see them for what they are: misogynistic, sexist, oppressive and absurdly pathetic beings who only serve to pollute and contaminate this world with war, abuse, oppression and rape.”

Other members of the FAL wore scissors around their necks and sang a song about castration.

David Huffman, a writer for the UNH conservative paper “Common Sense” was outraged by the, shall we say, mr-ogyny of the event. Huffman was asked to leave the public university event during the open microphone session. Despite the fact that he wasn’t singing songs about castration, FAL members said he was making women feel uncomfortable. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t singing about castration that these women felt uncomfortable.

Huffman pointed out that nowhere did the posters advertising the event say “Women Only.” He was simply excluded from an event at a public university based upon his gender.

The evening of man-hating was simply an example of an extremist group promoting stereotypes and encouraging violence towards another group. This is the kind of thing that is tolerated in the name of campus diversity, simply because the targets are the “right” group (Read: Not blacks, women, or gays).

After hearing poems that talked about castrating men, read by women with scissors tied around their necks, Hoffman asked “How is this any different than hating African-Americans or Jews?” The answer is simple: It is no different in principle. But, of course, the FAL is not based upon principle. The organization is based upon blind hatred.
[Emphasis added on unlawful items. –R]

Chris Who?

Is there any doubt left that Chris Kattan is a third-rate hack whose career at Saturday Night Live only lasted as long as it did because he rode the coattails of the vastly more talented Will Ferrell? This was reinforced today when, while channel-surfing, I came across this tidbit:
“Coming up next, SNL veteran Chris Kattan re-enacts a classic Ellen scene…”
In my defense, I only settled on Ms. DeGeneres’s show because at the time she was interviewing Sandra Bullock, the second-most beautiful woman in the world.

Comcast 2005 Customer Survey

Earlier in the week, we received a post card-based customer satisfaction survey from Comcast. We get ultra-basic cable and our high-speed Internet access from Comcast. I was looking forward to letting them have it, as we have been very displeased with their level of service the past few months.
First, bad Comcast, bad! for not having a way to complete the survey online. This would undoubtedly have led to my being able to write more than I was able to on your flimsy little post card.
Second, out of the four scores–Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor–Comcast failed to rate the top spot in any category, got a Good for it’s Field Tech experience, and rated a Poor when it comes to overall Customer Service experience.
My comment:

A way to speak to knowledgeable techs on the phone would be nice, since some of us know way more about how our high-speed Internet access works than the customer service reps. This would lead to faster problem resolution. Also, outages every other week are likely not winning Comcast many fans.
That’s all I was able to get on the card, because Comcast decided it needed to put its logo in the bottom right quarter of the card, eating up valuable writing real estate.
I have gotten to the point where I start out any phone conversation with a customer service rep with something like this: “Our high-speed Internet access is down. I’ve reset the cable modem multiple times. The cable television is much fuzzier than normal. It’s not a problem with the lines in my house, you have an outage.”
To which the customer service rep still insists I reset the cable modem again. Which I don’t, even though I tell them I do, since I’ve already done it, as I stated “multiple times.” In the past, well, ever, every time our access has been lost, it has been due to an area-wide outage. It has never been due to the lines in or connecting directly to our house. One would think this sort of thing would be noted in account notes. Then the customer service rep could see the outage history and reasonably conclude that I know what the hell I’m talking about when I call.
We have some new neighbors just down the block who reported that they signed up with Verizon for local phone and fiber optic, which VZ has been laying all over town. Many of us in the neighborhood have been waiting for some sort of notification from Verizon that they were ready to offer us high-speed access via fiber, so we could dump Comcast. Where’s that number?

Loving death

Peggy Noonan:

Terri Schiavo may well die. No good will come of it. Those who are half in love with death will only become more red-fanged and ravenous.

And those who are still learning–our children–oh, what terrible lessons they’re learning. What terrible stories are shaping them. They’re witnessing the Schiavo drama on television and hearing it on radio. They are seeing a society–their society, their people–on the verge of famously accepting, even embracing, the idea that a damaged life is a throwaway life.

Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.

Once you “know” that–that human life is not so special after all–then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.

Flickr-ed

I have joined the Flickr bandwagon. You can see my first set, from February of last year, “Winter Wonderland 2004“.
I am in the process of looking for a permanent residence on the web for my digital photos. I’m a little tired of the do-it-yourself routine I’ve been experimenting with, and I’m not looking forward to having to oversee yet another software backend, such as Gallery.
The photo set you can see at Flickr took me about five minutes to create. Granted, most of the hard work was already done in iPhoto (photo titles and captions). I used FlickrExport by Fraser Speirs to upload directly from iPhoto to my Flickr account. I uploaded the full-sized images, so my free Flickr account is currently full.
I had been looking at SmugMug, but now am having second thoughts, and am seriously considering upgrading to a Pro account with Flickr. More to come…

Installing BT module in G5

Going thru a backlog of RSS reading, I came across this post on installing the Bluetooth module in a Power Macintosh G5. One of my duties in the former job was performing this precise installation for part of a Genius Bar Apple Store client project. I did something on the order of 70 of these…well, a lot. It is not fun, and I have average-sized hands. I cannot imagine the pain a pair-of-meathooks-wielding tech must have to endure.