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Open Thread!

The Fourth Stanza

The Defense of Fort McHenry

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

–F.S. Key

For those who never go to baseball games, this poem is now known as The Star Spangled Banner, is sung before baseball games and other events, and has a new line after the first stanza: “Play Ball!”

But that’s not why I put the whole thing in this post. You can follow Key’s thoughts that morning as he tried to see if Ft. McHenry had survived the night’s assault by the British. The first stanza questions his fellow prisoners as to what they can see. The second sees the flag flying over the fort in the early light of the dawn, and the third stanza trash talks the English over their defeat.

But the fourth stanza is the one we ought to memorize, because it is Key’s ideas of what we stand for as a nation; then, now and forever. “Thus be it ever” is not only how it starts but it is how long we need to follow its clarion call. Brave men must stand between their homes and war’s desolation in every generation, not just when it seems politically correct or when we have a “good” war. The war we are in now is the first war we have fought against a foreign foe that has inflicted casualities within our borders since Key’s time almost 200 years ago. We were blessed with victory in Iraq against their armed forces, and are now mopping up the desperate efforts of those who have been displaced from the power that Saddam had given them, and their allies in the radical Moslem terrorist movement. Despite the fact that we are in a war, most of the nation’s people live in peace, depending on our brave soldiers and Marines to keep the armed conflict away from us. We are maintained in that peace by the preventative actions of a President who has the guts to do whatever he can, including wiretapping foreign phone calls, to keep us safe. It is not by accident that we have not have another attack within our borders, it is the result of a lot of hard work and a lot hard decisions. Our cause is just, and our trust is well placed, no matter how hard the liberals try to remove Him from our country. “And the Star Spangled Banner forever shall wave/O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

Happy New Year! –Capt Bogs

2005, the year in review

These are the stories and events that I see were important in 2005. By all means correct me in the comments section if you think I missed something.

The biggest news story of the year was the death of John Paul II and the election of Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope. JPII was perhaps the greatest of the recent leaders of the Catholic church. He was one of the key defenders of Vatican II, while maintaining Church tradition. His leadership of oppressed Catholics behind the Soviet Bloc and his travels across the world, including Israel and Cuba added to his greatness. JPII was the third longest serving Pope in the history of the church.

Cardinal Ratzinger was the “enforcer” for JPII and his election to Pope was no surprise, but it was a disappointment to all the non-Catholics who desperately wanted an atheist Pope.

Among other important stories of the year were from natural disasters. The aftermath of the Tsunami in Southeast Asia, the Katrina hurricane and the destruction of New Orleans, and the earthquake in Kashmir and Pakistan were the disasters. These natural occurrences weren’t the real news, the real news was how these events were handled. In Pakistan, American soldiers led rescue efforts that saved thousands of people’s lives. After the Tsunami the American Navy was key in rescue and relief efforts. The world poured money into Southeast Asia to help, and the UN decided to keep a lot of that money for itself. The American response to Katrina has been criticized for its ineffectiveness. However, the more information that is released the more it is clear that people died in New Orleans not because of lack of government response, but because of misplaced stubbornness. Death estimates immediately after Katrina hit were in the 10,000 range,the actual death toll was less than 1000, many were residents drown with their cars still in the garage.

Among man-made problems, the terrorist attack on London ranks high on my list. This needs to be balanced with some good news, the historic Iraq vote. Of course, the Iraq vote has been followed up by escalating violence over its results.

Terry Schiavo was denied food and water until she died. This was done by the courts despite the condemnation of the action by the Florida State Legislature, the Florida Governor, and the U.S. legislature. “Checks and balances,” heh. An autopsy revealed Schiavo had large portions of her frontal lobe destroyed, but it did show undamaged areas as well. In my mind it is the first step in legalising euthanasia for mentally handicapped people who also have damaged brains and reduced EEG readings. It was also a major confrontation between the Judiciary and the other two branches of government, and the Judiciary won.

This article on innovative ideas is a must read. Must important in my mind of the great new ideas of 2005 was the adoption of restaurant models for maintaining customer base through community by the retail market. Supermarkets have gone from places you go only to buy stuff into places to spend free time. Just walk around a Walmart and notice the droves of teenagers that go there at night just to hang out.

Podcasting and Blogging continue to grow in the new media as people live out their dreams of being in radio thanks to new technology.

The big science story of the year had nothing to do with science and everything to do with the defeat in court of “Intelligent Design.” You think the ACLU could have spent all that money giving to victims of Katrina or in donating to researchers trying to find the cure for cancer or AIDs or something. I wanted to write more about the ID case but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I don’t really care about the science behind ID, I do care that the courts stepped on the rights of the voters in that district to keep local control over their curriculum. I don’t a school district suggesting a book on ID is a violation of the establishment clause in the U.S. Constitution.

The death of Justice William Rehnquist was another important story, as one of the longest unchanged courts in history has now been “refreshed” a bit. Rehnquist was a great man, and it’s certain no one will be able to fill his shoes for a long time.

In fact, this year has been a series of great and long serving leaders dying or retiring. William Rehnquist led the Supreme Court for decades. JPII was the 3rd longest serving Pope and one of the greatest. Another one is the coming retirement of Alan Greenspan, perhaps the most succesful fed chairmen ever.

Other notable deaths:

Peter Jennings (TV Journalist)
Don Adams (“Get Smart” star and former Marine)
Johnny Carson (TV Personality)
Johnnie Cochran (Lawyer Personality)
William Westmoreland (Military General, Vietnam War)
Rosa Parks (Civil Rights Activist)
Richard Pryor (Comedian)
James Doohan (Actor and wounded WWII veteran)
Arthur Miller (“Death of a Salesmen” and “The Crucible” playwright)
Anne Bancroft (Actress and wife of Mel Brooks)
Judith Rossner (Author of “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”)
Simon Wiesenthal (Nazi Hunter)
Jack Anderson (Columnist and Nixon agitator)
Pat Morita (Actor “Karate Kid”)

Notable Movie:

Batman Begins
Four Brothers
Chronicles of Narnia
Crash
Cinderella Man
The Excorcism of Emily Rose
The Producers
King Kong
Brokeback Mountain

I can’t name ten, and I saw a lot of movies this year.

Books:

Unpublished Column

I wrote a short column in reply to this article I read in one of the local papers, but the editors at the Echo Press felt it didn’t deserve space, So I’m going to post it here. There’s going to be a push to expand the prep level school year, and it’s based on bad science and bad comparisons. I’m going to re-write the column so I can submit it to numerous newspapers as this becomes a bigger issue in the coming years.

We all have fond memories of our childhood summers. Swimming, baseball, biking, some valuable TV time all mixed in with the relief that there wasn’t any school work to be done. It was wonderful, and those memories of mine are quite cherished now that I have entered the real world, where obligations don’t end in summer. It was nice to be a kid.

This is probably why the article from December 14th (Longer School Year Debated) had such an immediate impact on me. “They’re declaring war on summer,” I thought. In reality, that’s not true. But such reactions have to be expected from people like me who thought of schools as prisons more than learning environments. However, the idea intrigued me, as Superintendent Ric Dressen seams convinced that a longer school year will be necessary for young people “to compete in the global workforce.”

Because of my personal experiences in public schools, I look at such pronouncements with a skeptic’s eye. Understand, I am the eternal optimist. I believe in the goodness of people. I try to control the cynic within. For this reason, I won’t judge any other motives Ric Dressen and the Minnesota Association of School Administrators [MASA] might have in lobbying for a longer school year. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. So I’ll ignore the fact that a longer school year would mean more pay and more benefits to Mr. Dressen and other school administrators.

I’ll just relay some facts to Mr. Dressen which will show an extended school year to be superfluous. The United States, according to an article in The Economist, has more engineers per 10,000 employees than either Australia or Britain. Despite the outdated “agrarian economy” based education year, the United States produces more effective and highly educated people than Australia and Britain.

The outdated agrarian school year has also had the strange effect of giving the United States a higher per capita GDP and a higher score on the University of Michigan’s World Value Survey composite well being scale than either Great Britain or Australia.

There is another myth here that needs to be exposed. It is the idea that more schooling will make a smarter and more successful student. It is untrue; in countless studies throughout the last hundred years psychological researchers have shown that social intervention (by schooling or early start programs) fails to raise IQ. Most studies show temporary gains in IQ from students receiving extra education, but those gains disappear in adulthood.

Psychology researchers aren’t the only ones who have noticed this. In his book “Freakonomics,” economist Steven Levitt looked at how much a prep school matters in predicting future academic and economic successes of their students. What Levitt found will dishearten many of you. The school doesn’t matter. Bright and motivated students are just as likely to succeed fighting their way through a failed inner city school as they were in a wealthier suburban school.

It seems silly then to think a longer school year will really make that large of an impact on our economy and students. It hasn’t and it won’t. It will simply cost a lot of money. It seems like it would just be easier to let the kids have their summer breaks.

2005 in review from around the horn

Deaths

For the troops

Big News Stories

Deaths II

Little known science discoveries

Lists of 2005 lists

h/t Mister Snitch for some of the above.

More reactions to the District 15 Special Elections

Andy Aplikowski

Andy is obviously frustrated, but I think the leadership he’s looking for exists in Ron Carey. I just don’t know if that will be ebough in 2006.

And a nameless buddy of his

Tony Garcia

I actually agree with a lot of what Tony said, except the part where he thinks moderates and middle of the road voters needed to be doorknocked. They didn’t, this was an effort about the bases, as I talk about in my post below.

Flash

Flash is being fair except where he talks about Ox’s family from nowhere, Ox has a Godchild (I think it’s a boy, not sure). Godchildren are actually important to traditionalists such as Ox, despite the weakening of the prominence of Godparents in modern life.

Gary Miller quoting First Ringer

First Ringer is a little dry, but he’s hinting at the potential for a cycle of defeats for the GOP which I see as well.

Election Results

Update*

Leo from Psycmeistr

The Senate District 15 and House District 15b Special Election

How I see it

It’s cliche but true, most battles are won or lost before the battle actually takes place. If you haven’t read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” and you’re a politico, you’re doing yourself a disservice. When Sue Ek signed the affidavit 6 months ago about her St. Paul residency, it was the first in a series of mistakes that lead to the massive failure of having no one on the ballot in District 15b.

No matter what anyone says, Sue should have known her residency might be called into question. In the end, it’s the candidate that needs to make sure they live in the district in which they want to run for office. If there’s any question at all, even if you get a decision in your favor in a hearing, you still look like a carpetbagger.

Another mistake was the lack of cooperation between the Kay Ek campaign and the Ochsner campaign. I won’t comment on some of the stuff I noticed, I did notice an effort to separate Ox from the Ek fiasco. That was a mistake. It was based on the wrong assumptions. Special elections are about base turnout. In this election there was 24% voter turnout (Minnesota averages in the high 60s for voter turnout in the general election, after some research I found that this Senate district averages about 75% voter turnout in the general elections). There is about a 6000 voter GOP base in district 15B. You don’t need centrists or moderates to win in an special election like this, you just need to get half your base to vote. Had that been accomplished the election would have been decided by less than 500 votes.

District 15b is a very difficult one for Republicans. In 2002 the Republican only received 38% of the vote, in 2004 it was 36% of the vote. A special election should have been a great opportunity to pick off a DFL seat. But because of the residency problem that opportunity is gone. It wasn’t just the residency problem, it was the way the GOP handled the problem. Feet were dragged, the second campaign (the Kay Ek write-in campaign) took too long to get going, it could have started a week earlier when it became clear the Sue Ek would not be on the ballot.

However, I credit the GOP with having the fortitude to go ahead with the write-in campaign. Ron Carey didn’t shy away from it, he told the DFL that the GOP would give them a fight, and it happened. I wish more candidates facing tough districts would promise and deliver the DFL a fight on their turf. Hearing Ron Carey on the radio gave me confidence in him for 2006.

To repeat what I mentioned earlier, I didn’t like seeing the Ochsner campaign shying away from the Kay Ek campaign. There was a general attitude that being associated with the Ek fiasco was going to hurt Ox. “A house divided cannot stand,” I think Jesus said that first. A better level of cooperation would have helped out both Kay Ek and Ox. The reason I bring this up is because District 15b is such a bad one for the GOP. Ox’s people should have focused on 15a, where there was no House race, to get out the vote. Had there been good cooperation of a well oiled campaign, the Ek people could have done a bang up job getting the GOP base in the tough 15a district, and the Ox people could have been more available to focus on getting GOP voters in the more favorable 15a side.

Ox himself may have made some mistakes. “To thine own self be true,” I think that was Shakespeare. Ox’s lit pieces were noted for the obvious photoshop work done to them. I don’t think it was a big deal, but some of the other pictures were questionable as well. One picture was Ox, his wife, and a child. Ox doesn’t have any kids, the child was his Godchild. I got emails about that picture. There were a number of the standard “family” photos of Ox. Ox is a radio personality, he shouldn’t hide from that, he can’t. The lit pieces just didn’t portray the Ox I know and love.

Also, when I was volunteering for Ox, I noted some intra-campaign animosity. Ox was fortunate to have the GOP Senate Caucus, some other GOP staff, College Republicans, and his own set of campaign volunteers working for him. Yet there was miscommunication between everyone, and sometimes doors were knocked twice in the same day, other problems, personality conflicts, etc. This is another Sun Tzu axiom, you need to know your troops and make sure they’re ready for battle. This is just inexperience.

The radio ads I listened to were great and well done.

The strategy (unlike what Tony says about it) was a good one: The GOP staff decided to bypass moderate voters and focus on the base. Perfect, if Ox gets half the GOP base to vote (about 7,000 voters) he wins by 500 votes. This means Ox needs to call them, they need to be visited, they should get a friendly Christmas greeting, and on election day they need to get a reminder to vote. This obviously didn’t happen.

Moderate voters and centrists are just not going to vote, and even if they do vote they’ll be unreliable. If you look at the numbers, neither candidate needed a single moderate or centrist in this election. The voters are fatigued right now, and I’ve written about this before. Centrist and moderates are disenfranchised with both parties right now, and Gerry Daly noted this when we interviewed him on Race to the Right not too long ago. Moderates aren’t interested in either party, so don’t bother with them, they’re just not going to vote. You can see this in the low approval ratings in polls. Those low approval ratings apply to congress, Bush, the government in general.

You also need to add the fact that a huge percentage of the voters in District 15 had recently voted in the St. Cloud mayoral race. Voter fatigue should have been expected, and it was shown true by the low voter turnout. Trying to get people who are fatigued, disenfranchised and apathetic to vote is a waste of time in a special election. The people who will be willing, if they know about it, are going to be the base. You just need to inspire them to vote and they’ll vote. End of story.

The DFL base is interested in voting. They’re frustrated with the war, with Bush, with their loss in 2004. They’re looking for some payback. Tarryl Clark succeeded in getting half her base to vote for her. It’s easier of the Democrats to do this right now, so the GOP needs to work harder. In fact, this alone may have made this campaign a lost cause for Ox and Ek from the start.

There is a lot the GOP needs to be concerned about in this election. There is also a lot a good news here too. Ron Carey sounded like a leader. Ochsner now has some experience under his belt. That’s the best part about making mistakes, the chance to learn from them.

I’m not going to write about everything I saw. I have some stuff about youth movement, winning psychology, grassroots efforts and precint level organization. I’ll save everyone the bore. There will be plenty of time to discuss election strategy in the next 6 months without the need to heap on Ox. I want to sit down and talk with him in depth about the election. I’m certain I’ll get the chance, too. Hopefully it’s not a chance brought about by him chewing me out over this post. I don’t think he reads my blog anyway (but he should).

Dan Ochsner loses in District 15

The results are in, the Minnesota GOP has lost ground in its fight to take back the senate, the results from the Secretary of State’s office:

Independence DAN BECKER 826 6.96
Republican DAN “OX” OCHSNER 4422 37.26
Democrat (DFL) TARRYL CLARK 6572 55.38

Kay Ek lost her write-in bid as well:

Democratic-Farmer-Labor LARRY HAWS 3581 70.87
Write-In WRITE-IN** 162 3.21
Write-In KAY EK** 1310 25.93

Kay Ek made a good showing, thirteen hundred write-in votes after about a week of campaigning is nothing to laugh at. I will have in depth analysis tomorrow. I’m not sure how much “inside” stuff I want to mention. Ochsner is the station manager at KNSI (the station I do Race to the Right) and a friend. But I also don’t want Ox, the state party, and my GOP brethren to make the same mistakes twice either. Nonetheless, a victory with 24% voter turnout is nothing Clark can brag about either, especially against a first time candidate.

Yes yes, a little late…

Letters to a Liberal

This is an ongoing series addressed to a liberal reader named “timmy.” In these letters I try to show my respect and admiration for those of the liberal philosophy, while clearly (and hopefully persuasively) explain why I place myself on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum.

Dear Tim,

We got a little impatient with each other in that last exchange, methinks. That is to be expected with an issue like the War in Iraq. It is also something to be expected when talking about the topic of this letter: abortion and the sanctity of life.

For me, life issues are not about philosophy. I’m not saying I avoid the philosophical, ethical and moral issues involved in life issues. I know them all quite well. It’s just that philosophy and morals are “arguable.” Instead, I take an engineers’ view of the whole thing. Engineers assume their inventions will have failures. But engineers have control over how their machines fail. The Ford Pinto was a horrible machine since it failed by having an explosive gas tank since it was exposed in the rear of the vehicle. Gas tanks are now located in vehicles where they aren’t exposed in rear-end collisions. Since mistakes happen, engineers try to make sure those mistakes cause the least amount of damage or injury as possible.

I choose to err on the side of life. I’m boring, I play it safe. Somewhere between conception and age 5 (The earliest I can remember) I became “alive” and “a life” and “human” and a “person.” We could argue about what those terms mean, when they happen, and even about individual differences, and we’d never come to a conclusion.

Erring on the side of life applies to more than just abortion. During the Terry Schiavo case I sided with those who didn’t want to pull her feeding tube. Was I certain she wasn’t “gone?” No, her EEG was about 5% of the normal reading, signaling that most higher cognitive functions had ceased. But I figured if she even had a small bit of consciousness left, it’d be wrong to let her die. If she was truly “gone” then it wasn’t hurting to keep her alive. I err on the side of life on the death penalty issue as well, since it’s a punishment that can’t be undone.

Back to abortion. I’m not asking you to come to a conclusion. I’m asking you to err on the side of life. Sure, it’s difficult to think of a zygote as a human being. It’s equally difficult to imagine an infant becoming a mathematician. I spent a lot of time in college learning about how the brain develops, which included learning about what goes on from conception until birth. It’s fascinating stuff, how a single cell turns into a human being. The whole process is quite hurried, including the brain. Fourteen days after conception the cells in the zygote begin to differentiate. At thirty days there are noticeable brain cells, at ten weeks there are measurable brain waves signaling synaptical connections. It’s complex and it’s self directed. The mother’s body is not sending signals to the fetus on how to develop, it happens on its own; it just needs resources to turn into a viable human being.

To me, abortion not about rights of privacy or body, it’s about the question of when life begins. I am not going to make value judgments about one life to another. I recently found out a friend of mine survived an abortion procedure. Her mother attempted a late term abortion, and she came out alive. I didn’t even know it was possible to survive an abortion. Since then she has grown up, gone to college and gotten married. It all could have ended at that clinic over two decades ago, when her entire life was no concern at all. Is she a mistake? Is her life worth less than the rest of us? Was she a choice? In fact, was my life a choice?

I understand the liberal side of this question. We should have domain over our bodies, except where another life is concerned. I have the right to swing away with my fists, until someone else gets in the way of those fists. I think the same rules can apply to those not yet born.

It’s also not a contradiction of liberal values to be against abortion. Liberalism has given us the sexual revolution. Now people use contraceptives, condoms and are promiscuous with relatively little shame. Agree or disagree, that is the modern culture. It’s one a lot of young conservatives have embraced as well. So, given this level of understanding, it’s no longer shameful to be pregnant out of wedlock. It is no longer an embarrassment to put a child up for adoption. People are very tolerant now, and we should be. This is a good thing, if the societal and economic factors for getting an abortion disappear, the demand for abortion should be reduced dramatically.

I don’t care what it takes; I want to reduce by a great amount the number of abortions in this country and in the world. If this means some compromises in my fiscal and social conservatism, fine. The life of my friend, and many potential friends, is worth the costs.

Roun’ da Horn
or
News Roundup plus stuff

In a move that shows American democracy can truly be spread across the globe, the Iraqi Sunnis are taking a play from the American Democratic Party and are making wild accusations about widespread voter fraud.

Poland will keep troops in Iraq.

Japanese prefer humanoid robots to real people.


My cat does not prefer humanoid robots.

A close up of the beast:

Best Christmas Gift. Ever.

The Ghosts of Internet Time.

Everyone should resolve for 2006 to sharpen their Google skillz:

• 1. Find similar terms
And you thought the tilde character («) served no useful purpose. When you insert the tilde in front of a search term, Google will retrieve sources matching the word as well as synonyms.
Searching “«conservative” will yield the National Libertarian Party, the National Republican Committee and the Right Wing News home page. Do not leave a space between the tilde and the search term.
• 2. Exclude terms
Sometimes a keyword will come up with items totally unrelated to the subject you are interested in. A student researching plasma in the cosmos would type in the word plasma and be forced to wade through scores of sites referring to plasma televisions.
The fastest way to solve this is to use the exclude function, the hyphen. Search “plasma -tv” and you will eliminate many irrelevant sites.
Though better, that may still not be good enough – you’ll wind up with sites using the word “television.” Simply refine your search this way: “plasma -tv -television” and eliminate both terms from your results. (No need to use the word “and” or other punctuation.)
If you really want to be cool, combine your newfound skills and type “plasma -«tv” that will exclude all synonyms of TV.
• 3. Substitute for unknown words
Friends kid me that my memory is pretty bad; I think they exaggerate. But sometimes I need to look up a quotation for which I can’t recall all the words. No problem. Use asterisks to stand in for missing words.
So if you forget, oh, let’s say, the number of years that Whatsisname referred to in his famous address: Something score and something years ago … just type “Four * and * years ago.”
• 4. Find lost pages
A wonderful but mostly overlooked feature of Google search is the cache option. Most people glance right past it, but in virtually all search results, you will see a link to cached versions of pages you are looking for.
You usually won’t need to refer to these archival pages, but if your search ever turns up an old news page, for instance, you may find that when you click on the link, the page no longer exists, even though it turned up in the search results.
In that event, simply click on the cache link (at the bottom line of the search result), and that will retrieve the last saved version of the page that had failed to show.
• 5. Get your number
Looking up a phone number? Give your fingers a break, and let Google do the walking.
Just type “phonebook” and the name and city (or state initials) of the person whose number you’re looking for. The number will pop up instantly. Often, you can leave out the word “phonebook,” though city or state will be required.
6. Get the name
If you have a phone number but want the name or the location, just type in the number – no hyphens, parentheses or spaces necessary.
• 7. Look up synonyms
With all due respect to Webster, you can now get definitions in a flash by typing “define:” and your search word. You’ll come up with definitions, synonyms and links for further information.

Superfluid successfully tested. Of course, there’s no potential application at all for superfluids, but…

Dodo bird skeleton found. Seriously, take a look at that article. The last stuffed Dodo bird was burned in an Oxford fire in 1755, making finding a complete genome about impossible. The Dutch word for the Dodo meant “Nasty Bird” because they tasted so horrible. The Portuguese word meant something along the lines of “dumb.” Differences in culture, Portuguese didn’t care what it tasted like, they were easy to catch (and people make jokes about the Poles, the Portuguese history is a lot funnier). Just imagine if the Dodo was actually tasty, it’d still be around.

12 myths dealing with the Bush Phone Tap “scandal”. It’s a liberal perspective on the whole thing. I’m rather ambiguous about the whole affair. I’m not worried about whatever Bush would do with the phone taps, I’m worried about future U.S. presidents abusing such a power. Like Bill Clinton and his FBI files scandal. Then again, the power will probably be abused either legally or illegally, so the cynic in me once again remains ambiguous.

If you still think the Bush thing is bad, imagine the government knowing exactly where you’re driving all the time:

Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.

Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.

The network will incorporate thousands of existing CCTV cameras which are being converted to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts.

Can you imagine the potential for abuse? Shoot, there goes the cynic in me again…

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