PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.

Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.

I have a day job. So every word of this is my opinion, not that of my employer. This offer IS void in Wisconsin. Except, of course, that some material in this column comes from incoming e-mail; such material is usually reproduced in the Sans Serif type font to distinguish it from the (somewhat) original material.

To Pay For This Column Voluntarily
Tales of Teaching 2004
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P.S. A Column On Things: March 29, 2004

March 29, 2004 Vol. 6, No. 13

Table of Contents:

General News

  • A Quiet Week
  • WinPatrol
  • Attacking Richard Clarke
  • Political Notes

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs
  • Microsoft V. Europe: Another View


  • Old Joke


  • The Ladykillers


  • Potpouri from Vitale, Coquet, Langa/Dern, Grobstein

General News

A Quiet Week

I bundled all my students, and myself, off to spring break this week. We all made it.


I had a heck of a time with mystery adware that was sneaked onto my system by unscrupulous web sites.

I went to and clicked download WinPatrol Free version. It was quick and easy and solved my problem in five minutes. Have a look. Buy the plus version. It's worth it!

Attacking Richard Clarke

The hypocrisy of the GOP is again on display. During the Clinton term, every word from those distinguished public servants, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinski, each of whom built up credibility from decades of service, was gospel. It had to be investigated immediately, said William "letting this case go forward won't distract the President" Rehnquist.

Richard Clarke, of course, after serving four presidents, has to be attacked personally, with the content of his charges about a bobbled war on terrorism ignored while the White House finds (or makes up) dirt to drag him down.

The Republican approach to this issue makes me sick to my stomach, and I am pleased for my own forum in which to say so.

He is, by the way, as I mentioned briefly last week and as Craig Reynolds notes from an article in Slate a fellow MIT alum:

Dick Clarke Is Telling the Truth
Why he's right about Bush's negligence on terrorism.
By Fred Kaplan
"...I went to graduate school with Clarke in the late 1970s, at MIT's
political science department..."

Speaking of Clark, I got this from Craig Reynolds:

This guy is very sharp. Its like a poker player: "I see your declassification and release of my Senate testimony, and raise you all my White House memos and email"

Sunday, the White House admitted Bush ordered Clarke to find an Iraq/9-11 link. It's just like Watergate folks; it's the coverup that will kill the White House.

Political Notes

Richard Dalton checks in with a great resource:

This is a wonderful resource put together by Congressman Henry Waxman (admittedly, no friend of the Bushies). I especially like this comment by Dick Cheney during a speech delivered 1/15/04:

"...His (Saddam Hussein's) regime cultivated ties to terror, including the al Qaeda network, and had built, possessed, and used weapons of mass destruction." (Yeah, Dick, but "built, possessed, and used" in which decade?)

There are hundreds more, searchable by name, date range, and/or general topic. Nice job, Mr. Waxman.


It turns out that the emergency $87B Bush is criticizing Kerry for voting against was not all to support our troops this year in Iraq and Afghanistan. About $30 billion can be spent in later years, as late as 2008. About $23 billion will not support our troops but portions of it will go to countries like Liberia and Sudan (they're on an entirely different continent).


The Vietnam II Preflight Checklist
By Jack McMillan

1. Cabal of oldsters who won't listen to outside advice? Check.
2. No understanding of ethnicities of the many locales? Check.
3. National boundaries drawn in first world, not by the locals? Check...

and so on.


Cartoon by Tom Toles

First 3 panels have a picture of a standing Condi Rice saying:
1. "Maybe we didn't see the threat as soon as we might have
2. "But since 9/11, we have been relentlessly focused. . ."
3. ". . . on hunting down, one by one, and systematically destroying. . .
4th panel shows Rice standing on top of the White House at the trigger
of a smoking machine gun: ". . . anyone who says so."
At the bottom of the 4th panel a smaller version of Rice at the smoking
machine gun continues: "If you have any questions come out where I can
see you."


One wonders what else is behind the deal with Libya which could have been had years ago as previously reported by PSACOT? One wonders if a clue is provided by The New York Times which reported (Libya Signs Energy Exploration Deal With Shell) that a deal between Libya and Royal Dutch/Shell "is likely to irk American energy rivals that have been gearing up to enter Libya" once sanctions are lifted.

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Craig's off this week.

Microsoft V. Europe: Another View

Ran across this interesting response to the Microsoft case in Europe:

The U.S. did not tell Microsoft to go forth and sin no more. Unless one is willing to assume that both the judge and the Department of Justice were illiterate and unable to read and understand the settlement agreement approved by the judge in one of the greater miscarriages of American justice, both the judge and the U.S. clearly encouraged Microsoft to keep right on violating the antitrust laws.

Further, according to press accounts, the EU is unlikely to force Microsoft to sell a lower priced version of its (mis)operating system (without a media player) because competing media players are given away free. Thus, the EU assigns a value of zero to the media player and would deduct this value from the current cost of the (mis)operating system with a media player. Notwithstanding the EU economic analysis, if the EU wished to foster competition it most certainly would force Microsoft to sell a (mis)operating system without a media player at a significantly lower price than a (mis)operating system with a media player. If the EU wished to provide incentive to Microsoft to cease conduct inimical to both the security of the EU and the economies of its member countries, the EU might (but almost surely will not) impose the suggested nominal fine of $3 billion now which fine will treble upon every further antitrust violation (2nd violation is $9B, 3rd is $27B, 4th is $81B). Somewhere in there (with only $50B cash on hand) the shareholders might decide to protect their interests by finding law abiding management.


Old Joke

A tragic fire on Monday destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush. Both of his books have been lost. A presidential spokesman said the President was devastated, as he had not finished coloring the second one.


The Ladykillers

The Coen brothers remade a brilliant Ealing comedy from 1955 which starred Alec Guiness and Peter Sellers. I went and rented the DVD. Guess which was better? Yup. The old one. Makes you wonder why Hollywood bothers with remakes sometimes, doesn't it? Not that the Coen brothers aren't funny and clever (although not as funny and clever as they usually are). Tom Hanks drags the movie along behind him like a giant ball and chain. He's funny, in an over the top way. Marlon Wayans gives a sort of Wayans brother performance. Irma P. Hall is pretty funny as the old lady (a lot peppier than Katie Johnson in the original). The problem is, as other reviewers have pointed out, this is a black comedy and the Coen Brothers broadened it out too much. The film's not too bad, if you haven't got anything else to do, or if you love Tom Hanks. At 104 minutes, it's a reasonable length--just seven minutes longer than the original. If only it were seven minutes better. But don't make a special trip to see it.


Potpouri from Vitale, Coquet, Langa/Dern, Grobstein

Neal Vitale tipped me off to this:

Bible Pic to Star Adam Sandler

In the wake of Mel Gibson's smash hit "The Passion of the Christ," Paramount Pictures today announced that it had optioned the exclusive motion picture rights to The Book of Job as a vehicle for comedy superstar Adam Sandler.

A Note To Our Readers is dripping with so many layers of irony it is hard to tell if ANY of it is true.

Cook Breakfast on your portable Mac computer. Thanks, Peggy Coquet.

Greatest headline ever, from Fred Langa via Daniel Dern.

Dan Grobstein File: New York Times:

Husband retires, wife doesn't chaos ensues.

Bob Edwards out as host of Morning Edition.

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