Man, I love college. Check out these greeks at www.ipose.org who are raising money for tsunami relief. Posted by Hello

Its finally here!

The smoking ban starts taking effect tonight at midnight, and if I understand it correctly only Ramsey county has the exemption for places that make most of their money from liquor. So hopefully this means we can all go out for a night on the town and not stink to holy-hell the next day. I for one can't wait.



My feet are killing me. I knew I should have stretched before starting
the day off. I'm just hoping I don't get one of those awful cramps in
the middle of the night. Those are the worst.

But speaking of feet, I found some hot shoes at Aldo. Hopefully I can
get them back home - they didn't have my size.


Photo 10.jpg

Photo 10.jpg


Damn, I love that store. Lots of fun stuff and the prices were just right. Bought some shorts - wish I could wear them and be in the middle of summer. The weather is finally starting to pick up - both here and in Minneapolis. I can't wait to roll the windows down and enjoy it.

This morning, I headed out of the hotel down the street to a Starbucks. Its a lot of fun for me just to walk solo and look around and daydream just a bit.

Chatted with my brother this morning- he got his first speeding ticket and got totally nailed. 15 miles over the speed limit - and he tells me he was tired. Not the right thing to tell me. I asked if mom and dad had yelled at him - and they hadn't so I yelled at him for a bit. It was more tough love than anything else - I felt good.


Apple Store - Chicago

Well, I finally got there. Actually it was one of the first things I did once we got here. Umm, $32 for parking at the hotel I'm staying at?!! WTF! So we parked at the O'Hare and took the train in - maybe not the closest place we could have parked, but it'll be like less than half what the hotel parking would have cost.

I haven't bought anything yet - almost got some hot summer shoes at Aldo but they didn't have my size. :( I'll have to check out the local store back home. Anyway, I'm getting yelled at to get back to vacation...

Democracy--or the US Military--On the March

Democracy--or the US Military--On the March


I don't understand all this talk about how US actions in Iraq and
Afghanistan have inspired a "democracy movement" in the Middle East.
Well, actually, I do understand it. People are desperate to derive
something positive from all the horror wreaked upon the region by the
American interventions, something to reassure themselves that what their
country has done isn't so bad after all, that they themselves are not as
gullible as they were starting to feel.

The bad news is that they're being gullible again. The only country in
the area where anything of any political significance has recently
occurred is in Lebanon, with a burgeoning movement to make Syria remove
its armed forces. But this movement clearly arose from the murder of the
former prime minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, which has been blamed
on Syria. What does this have to do with the United States? Do the
people celebrating a US-inspired "democracy movement" think that the
United States was behind the assassination? In any event, Lebanon has
been a democracy for many years, as that word is loosely used by almost
everyone; i.e., they've had elections on a regular basis, at least as
credible as those in the United States, and a lively free press.

As to what happened in Iraq in January ... Imagine if during the Cold
War, Hungary had held an "election" under Soviet occupation, in which
the voters did not know the names of the candidates or what they stood
for, and no candidate or party called for the withdrawal of Soviet
troops. The American media would have had a field day poking fun at this

Even more farcical was the presidential election in Afghanistan shortly
before -- May I have the envelope, please ... The winner is Hamid
Karzai, long-time resident in the United States, Washington's
hand-picked, packaged, and groomed candidate, described by the
Washington Post as "a known and respected figure at the State Department
and National Security Council and on Capitol Hill."{1}

There were also elections in Palestine in January, which occurred
following the death of Yasser Arafat. Do the celebrators think that the
United States was behind Arafat's death as well? But here too, elections
were held before; it's how Arafat became president. Seumas Milne of The
Guardian in London recently observed that elections would have taken
place earlier than January if the US and Israel hadn't known that Arafat
was certain to win them. Milne adds: "The claim that democracy is on the
march in the Middle East is a fraud. It is not democracy, but the US
military, that is on the march."{2}

And now, class: In 25 words or less explain why the UN, the US, France,
Germany, Russia, Spain, and other nations are insisting that Syria leave
Lebanon without delay while saying not a word about the US withdrawing
from Iraq. There are most likely many more people in Lebanon who want
the Syrians to stay than people in Iraq who want the US to stay, one
reason being that Lebanon borders only on Syria and Israel.

American imperialists, old and new

George F. Kennan, who is credited with formulating the basic foreign
policy followed by the United States in the Cold War, died March 17 at
the age of 101. He was what is commonly referred to as an elder
statesman. In his years at the State Department he was recognized as the
government's leading authority on the Soviet Union, and as the founder
of the policy of "containment" of the Russians, a term he coined; he was
also one of the authors of the Truman Doctrine. One of his best-known
pieces of writing is "Policy Planning Study 23", written for the State
Department planning staff in 1948. It read in part:

"We have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its
population. ... In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of
envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a
pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position
of disparity. ... To do so, we will have to dispense with all
sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be
concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. ... We
should cease to talk about vague and ... unreal objectives such as human
rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The
day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power
concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the

This is worth repeating not only for its intrinsic interest and its
significance as a document of US foreign policy history, but as a means
for making a comparison to present day policy. Those who intensely
despise the leaders of the Bush administration are convinced that they
are uniquely vile in American history. I would maintain, however, that
there's very little of what we've come to fear and loathe about the
Bushgang that can't be found in many previous administrations, and that
if George W., on a purely personal level, were not such a crass,
ignorant, dishonest, and insufferably religious jerk, his policies would
be much more readily excused by liberals (though not by radicals) as
they excused similar policies under Clinton and other Democrats going
back to Truman.

What has distinguished the Bush administration's foreign policy from
that of its predecessors has been its unabashed and conspicuously overt
expressions of its imperial ambitions. They flaunt it, publicly and
proudly declaring their intention -- nay, their God-inspired right and
obligation -- to remake the world in their own image. The utterly
callous attitude toward human suffering that marks the current
administration's philosophy differs from Kennan's cold-blooded amorality
in that the Bushgang has rejected his advice and do indeed talk about
human rights and democracy ... ad infinitum. But so has every
administration post World War II. Kennan was surprisingly out of tune
with international public relations, or maybe he was just too honest to
be a diplomat.

So why is the Bushgang so intent on encouraging democracy all over the
world? Should that not be supported? Well, it depends on what you mean
by democracy, or what the Bushgang means by it. I think that what
Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al look for in a "democratic" third
world country, or look to establish in that country, is that the
government is corporate-friendly, that the society has the legal and
financial institutions needed to remake the country so that it's
appealing to foreign investors, that it will play ball with the World
Trade Organization, the IMF, and the rest of the international financial
mafia, and most important, that it is a capitalist system, enterprise
nice and free, none of this socialist crap. That's what they mean by
democracy. Least of all have they in mind any kind of economic
democracy, the closing of the gap between the desperate poor and those
for whom too much is not enough.

The United States and the women of Afghanistan

Last month Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, who commanded the 1st Marine
Division in the 2003 Iraq invasion, told a conference in San Diego:
"It's fun to shoot some people. ... You go into Afghanistan, you got
guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a
veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's
a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."{3}

Some may be offended by the general's expressed relish for killing (and,
indeed, he was rebuked by the Marine Corps Commandant), but his remarks
about Afghanistan can only paint him and the United States as zealous
supporters of women's rights in Afghanistan and lend credence to George
W.'s claim of same. This would be rather ironic given the following
slice of history that likely has never seen the light of a clear day in
the mainstream media.

In the 1980s the United States played an indispensable role in the
overthrow of a secular and relatively progressive Afghan government, one
which endeavored to grant women much more freedom than they'll ever have
under the current government, more perhaps than ever again. Here are
excerpts from a 1986 US Army manual on Afghanistan discussing the
decrees and the influence of the government concerning women:
"provisions of complete freedom of choice of marriage partner, and
fixation of the minimum age at marriage at 16 for women"; "abolished
forced marriages"; "bring [women] out of seclusion, and initiate social
programs"; "extensive literacy programs, especially for women" ...
"putting girls and boys in the same classroom"; "concerned with changing
gender roles and giving women a more active role in politics".{4}
Neither the awful Taliban regime, nor the Islamic fundamentalist regime
which immediately preceded it, would ever have come to power if the
United States had not overthrown this government. And why did the United
States in its infinite wisdom choose to do such a thing? Why, simply
because the Afghan government was allied with the Soviet Union and
Washington wanted to draw the Russians into a hopeless military
quagmire. The women of Afghanistan will never know how the campaign to
raise them to the status of full human beings would have turned out, but
this, some might argue, is but a small price to pay for a marvelous Cold
War victory.

Monkeys still on trial

Christian fundamentalists are waging a many-pronged assault on the
teaching of evolution in public schools. At the state and local level
they use lawsuits and school board debates to counter evolutionary
theory. The Alabama and Georgia legislatures recently introduced bills
to allow teachers to challenge evolution in the classroom; other states
have approved new rules allowing the same; some localities paste
stickers on science textbooks saying that "Evolution is a theory, not a
fact." Students are encouraged to report teachers who don't give "the
other side". Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a supporter of this campaign,
recently stated: "Anyone who expresses anything other than the dominant
worldview is shunned and booted from the academy. My reading of the
science is there's a legitimate debate. My feeling is let the debate be

Okay, but would they be willing to allow their tactic to be extended to
political subjects? Would they permit stickers to be placed on history
textbooks that say something like: "The idea that the United States has
been a force for good in the world is a theory, not a fact."? Or
stickers on economics texts which read: "For every free-enterprise
'success story' recounted in this book, there are many thousands of
victims unmentioned." Let the debates be had.
The fundamentalists are not really as open minded as they would like to
sound. What they'd really rather have is just creationism being taught
and have evolution ousted from the classroom, but that strategy did not
fare too well some years ago because of the sticky little issue of
separation of church and state.

Not too long ago, creationists seized on a tactic that was devilishly
clever. They began to say that the idea of evolution was no threat to
their beliefs, for it was God who had created evolution. That approach
seems to have been abandoned. Evolved, one might say.

The Hugo Chavez News Service

On more than one occasion in the past 18 months, Venezuelan president
Hugo Chavez has accused the United States of planning to assassinate
him; other Venezuelan officials have made the same charge, including the
Military Intelligence Directorate, which claimed to have "overwhelming
evidence" of a CIA-backed plot to bring down an airplane Chavez almost
used in September 2003 to visit the United States for meetings in
Washington and at the UN. The flight was abruptly cancelled.{6}

I don't know if the assassination story is true, but it certainly can't
be dismissed out of hand, as the American press has done by using its
favorite weapon, silence. The United States has already tried a general
strike, a coup, and a referendum against Chavez, all failing to unseat
him; assassination or invasion are about the only arrows poor Uncle Sam
has left in his quiver. It should be kept in mind as well that the
United States has been involved in the assassination, or planning for
same, of close to 50 prominent foreign political leaders since the end
of the Second World War.{7}
If the story is indeed true, it's a very smart move on the part of
Chavez to publicize it in advance. "If anything happens to me, the
person responsible will be President George W. Bush," Chavez has
declared.{8} This can't help but make any Washington assassins think

Another story the US media has ignored, which many people also had to
learn about from Hugo Chavez, oddly enough has to do with Iraq. This is
the story of Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhli, an official at Iraq's health
ministry, who said that the US military used banned weapons during its
deadly offensive in the city of Fallujah. Dr. ash-Shaykhli was assigned
by the ministry to assess the health conditions in Fallujah following
the November assault there. He said that research conducted by his
medical team proved that American forces used internationally-prohibited
substances such as mustard gas, nerve gas, and other burning chemicals
in their attacks in the war-torn city. The health official announced his
findings at a news conference March 1 in the health ministry building in
Baghdad which was attended by more than 20 Iraqi and foreign media
networks, including the Washington Post and the Knight-Ridder service
from the United States.{9} The Associated Press reported the story {10},
citing Chavez as the source, but no mainstream media appear to have
found it newsworthy; this stands in sharp contrast to repeated
criticisms by conservatives that the American "liberal" media report
only the bad news from Iraq.

America's report cards for a naughty world

Are the people in the State Department capable of feeling embarrassment?
What do they tell their children they do for a living? The Department
released its annual human rights report February 28 in which it
criticized countries for a range of interrogation practices it labeled
as "torture", including sleep deprivation, confining prisoners in
contorted positions, stripping and blindfolding them, and threatening
them with dogs ... Yes, that's right, the same methods used repeatedly
by the United States on detainees at its far-flung prison empire.
Moreover, the US turns over prisoners to be "interrogated" (wink, wink)
to countries the State Department human rights report cites for the use
of torture, a practice known as "rendition", of course making sure to
first obtain a promise (chuckle, chuckle) from those countries that they
will not torture the prisoner.

The State Department also puts out other annual report cards on the rest
of the world, evaluating them on religious freedom, terrorism (state
supporter of and uncooperative with the war on), drugs, and trafficking
in persons. I'm waiting for evaluations on hypocrisy and condescension.

Our bodies, ourselves

All the hullabaloo about steroid use by baseball players inspires me to
return to a question I raised in this report last summer in regard to
the Olympics. Presumably steroids are banned because they give an
athlete an unfair advantage over athletes who are "clean". But of all
the things that athletes, and other people, put into their bodies to
improve their health, fitness and performance, why are steroids singled
out? Doesn't taking vitamins give an athlete an unfair advantage over
athletes who don't take them? Shouldn't vitamins be banned from sport
competition? How about various food supplements, for the same reason?
Vitamins and food supplements are often not any more "natural" than
steroids, which in fact are very important in our body chemistry. Why
not ban those who follow a healthy diet because of the advantage this
may give them?

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA
Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's
Only Super Power
and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir

He can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com [mailto:BBlum6@aol.com]



I'm finally on my way to Chicago, instead of just through it, which
means I finally get to visit the bigger-than-mine Apple Store. I'm
virtually ecstatic except that the weather was better back home.



Has anyone tried Chantico yet? I missed the introduction hour and just haven't convinced myself to pay for it just yet, since its not an expresso drink to my knowledge.


So far so good

T-Mobile has been awesome so far. The customer service has been
astounding, but then I am also comparing it to Cingular which sucks BIG
time. I can't believe they give me unlimited data on my Sidekick - it
doesn't get much better than that. I am also told they'll be finding
their way into Canada soon as well. So calling there will be even
cheaper and service there all the better. Oh and don't forget Boxing
Day - I'm sure they will awesome sales on new phones. Haha - loves it!


Sidekick Posting

Just trying it out.

I'm happy....and frightened

It appears 2006 will usher in years of horrible gridlock, although it means the state's worse bottleneck will finally be fixed. Looks pretty cool and hopefully it will work.


SpiderBot by John Deere

This has got to be one of the coolest things I have ever seen, and to think its actually made by a John Deere subsidary. I would love just to run around in one of those, even if just for a little bit. Wonder if my hometown's local dealership will be carrying one of these on its lawn. I'd take it for a joyride! Posted by Hello

Google X

I was just mentioning along with SparklesMpls how cool Google is, and then they come along and create Google X. It is nothing particularly special in that it does something radically cool, but they do pay homage to Mac OS X and who can't love that! Bookmark it people!!

"Roses are red. Violets are blue. OS X rocks. Homage to you."


TiVo sticking around afterall

Most everyone loves TiVo, and those who don't love it probably have no idea what it is, still piss outside, and say yee-haw after sex. But its reported that TiVo and Comcast have come to an agreement to use TiVo technology for the cable company's subscribers. I don't particularly care about the Comcast deal, but this means TiVo is sitting on firmer ground and might actually stay around a bit longer. For a while there it wasn't looking too good.

Its not like I really need it, and I know these things have been hacked in the past, but what the hell I've wanted one forever.  Posted by Hello


Google News Just Got BETTER

I'm quite a fan of Google News since I'm sort of a news junkie. It does a great job of bringing together news articles from like 4500 news sources in the country all into one convenient page. Even if it was biased towards Bush during the election, but I can look past that for the time being.

Google has added customization to the page. So now I don't have to look at the Sports headlines ever again, and better yet you can create personlized news sections. I of course, added an 'Apple' section just so I'm up with multiple sources on the latest Apple news. Which by the way joined the Sony's Blu-Ray bandwagon - perhaps in part a concilliatory gesture for kicking their asses in mp3 players?!

Could Apple be finally planning to market the hell out of the Mac and be serious about exploding their market share?! It seems CFO Oppenheimer is feeling pretty good about Apple's position in the market, and really who isn't but that is beside the point. A lot of Mac users and 'followers' have oft complained that Apple doesn't market Mac OS X, iLife or much of the hardware other than iPods. When was the last time you saw an ad for the iMac?! Not to mention the Mac mini. Posted by Hello


I want this phone!! (the pic is of two models, but I'm not picky.) Posted by Hello


Go Dean! Go!

Dean: Democrats raise $3.4 million in three weeks

Ok, so its not as much as the GOP has raised, but its double what the Dems have done before. Hopefully this is the first 'victory' in a string of many.


MacCentral's headline says it all: Apple's iPod has blood on its Click Wheel: Virgin Electronics is dead

Now this is cool science!

I didn't realize that fusion technology had come this far along, but then again shouldn't we be farther ahead than this already?! I just hope all six of these countries can make a decision jointly and get this project rolling forward. Cheap, abundant energy would be huge for humanity - and besides I think this would be really, really cool!!


"Bush makes rare Bin Laden pledge"

Holy Crap!! I didn't know Bush even remembered who Bin Laden was, nevermind acknowledge that he must be brought to justice.


A library on Long Island is loaning out audio books using iPod Shuuffles and so far its been a success. I had no idea audio books on CD could cost up to $75 - thats crazy especially considering audio books from iTunes are priced like regular books.

I've never bought an audio book, the idea appeals to me but I just think it should be cheaper than a paper book. But then again, what would I put in my book case?!


I've got Tivo now (again, but its here to stay). The last time we couldn't get it working, didn't like dialing through Vonage. But Tivo2 pulled through for us, and now its connected to the internet wirelessly. Downloading the program schedule, allowing me to remotely schedule recordings just an hour before a show starts and streaming my pictures from iPhoto and most of my music in iTunes. However, TivoToGo doesn't seem to work yet on the Mac - I've very disappointed and hope its fixed soon. Posted by Hello

The casual pair...

... with kitty Posted by Hello


Man, I wish I could blog about work. But one should be careful, guess its just me and the steering wheel then...

"The Pizza Man Always Rings Twice"

Caught this article over on CityPages. Maybe its been out for awhile, but quite the interesting read. Basically its an interview with five or six pizza delivery guys talking about some of the more interesting aspects of delivery.

I never really knew how much to tip a pizza delivery guy - for some reason 15% just doesn't seem to apply. But now I know three to five dollars and I'll be keeping the delivery person happy.