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
Tales of Teaching 2005

October 4, 2004: P.S. A Column On Things

October 4, 2004 Vol. 6, No. 39

Table of Contents:

General News

  • This and That
  • Activist Blogs
  • Marlow In The Netherlands
  • Political Notes

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs


  • Blonde Joke--Mail


  • Napoleon Dynamite


  • Humor by Wolfe, Dan Grobstein File

General News

This and That

Last week, I scored a new subscriber to my automated weekly notification of the column--the first ever to sign up directly since I went robotic a few weeks ago.


Average hits since Aug. 12, 2001: 78 per day. Current average is 63 a day--not much, but 440 a week is still a lot of strangers when I only send out 114 notifications each week--and I doubt many people are visiting twice


Vicki and I have found an effective homeopathic sleep aid: Moon drops.


Winpatrol's Scotty is defending my computer, and doing a damn good job of it. I really like Winpatrol. It protects me from adware, and helped me clean up Rae's extremely cluttered Vaio portable the other day. Six different forms of adware had snuck into her system. It is the single best program for tracking and controlling IE helpers--actually, the only program that I know of. It requires a modicum of sophistication to operate, especially if you're trying to clean things out, but it's first class work, especially the paid version.

Speaking of Rae's computer, Brandeis told her to do Window XP Pro SP2. It messed her computer up something fierce; IE still won't even run javascript. I was afraid I'd have to reload the OS and all her major applications--a task that would have been complicated by the fact that Rae had none of the Vaio CDs and we no longer had the box the computer came in. Important and expensive lesson: hold onto your OS and application CDs and never let them go, leave them behind, or misplace them. Luckily, a deinstall of SP2 (and a shift to the setup from two weeks earlier) were sufficient to get her PC running again, and now she uses Mozilla instead of IE, and it's working fine for her.


Dudefest for Big Lebowski fans (like my daughter Marlow)

Activist Blogs

My daughter Rae asked how to keep up with the news and the progressive movement. Here are the suggestions I (and several regular contributors) made to her:

I suggest you at least glance at the front of three newspaper web sites: LA Times , NY Times and SF Chronicle. Your sister suggests KOS. Craig Reynolds suggests Talking Points Memo by Joshua Micah Marshall and:

Findory is great for personalized news filtering. Similar to Google News in format, it "learns" from the articles you choose and begins to tilt its news selection to suit your previous reading. If you click through Findory to leftist activist news, it will start finding more of that to show you.

Dan Grobstein suggests:
Eric Alterman/Altercation

For regular news sources I always check,,

Marlow in The Netherlands

Marlow is in The Netherlands right now, at Leiden University, working on her degree in International Relations. Here's what's new from her:

Week three of classes is going well. Having to print out the articles or copy them each week for my classes is getting really tedious. I would love to just be able to buy a book or course packet, but it looks like that's not how they do things here.

It turns out one of my professors can speak Chinese. And he's from Oregon, which shows that it is a small world after all. We talked about China briefly after class and I'm thinking about asking him to be my thesis advisor next year since he seems to be the only one with any East Asian background, plus he's young, approachable, and American when compared with the Dutch professors.

This weekend I'm going to go to a protest. Possibly the biggest one ever in the Netherlands. They're trying to mess with the pensions of basically everyone in this country. I think they're raising the retirement age from 57 to 65, and there are a lot of pissed off 56 year olds as a result. I don't know why they don't just grandfather something like this in, but I guess that's not how they do things here. So, anyway, October 2nd, I'll be marching through the streets of Amsterdam.

Political Notes

Kerry won the first debate, but then of course I would say that, wouldn't I? I wish he'd used some zingers, but apparently the decision was to keep it clean and above board. My prediction: sometime in the 2nd or 3rd debate Bush will lose his temper and drive all the independents into the arms of Kerry. I just wish VP debates made a difference, because if Edwards doesn't make Cheney look like the jerk he is, I'll eat my hat.

As this 50-second video (The Faces of Frustration--posted as a public service) makes clear, George Bush is out of touch with reality and simply can not stand criticism. If he were in touch with reality (both of the facts on the ground and the fact that people see right through him), Bush would not have expressed such anger and frustration on Sept. 30, 2004 during the first presidential debate.

Good editorial cartoon on the debate, from Wisconsin (a battleground state).

From an e-mail to the daily kos blog: During the debate, a father asked his 19-year-old former foster son why he would vote for Kerry" "Because, I can tell if they were both captured by terrorists Kerry would keep telling them to go f*** themselves, and Bush would cry like a baby and tell them anything they wanted to know." From the same blog: "Look for the Organization of Offended Headlighted Deer to form immediately in protest of the besmirching of their reputation by the leader of the free world."

Did Kerry win? The Newsweek Poll indicates that, as Bush's lead disappears.


It fits, it's in print, but it's hardly news: The New York Times said Sunday that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and "others" misled the American people and the world about the WMD which did not exist and which were not in Iraq. One of the "others" whom Messrs. Gerth and company studiously avoid naming or criticizing directly by name is Judith Miller, of The New York Times. She who wrote an infamous article on Sept. 8, 2002: U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts. Her first-rate reporting at that time is mentioned in Sunday's Times article, and not in a favorable way. You can read a broad Times self-critique of its remarkably credulous pre-war WMD coverage.

Let's face it: Judy Miller was captured by her sources and believed what she was fed--having every reason to know she was being used by a traitor releasing classified false information. As a result, more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers died. Neither The Times nor almost anyone else (with the possible exception of PSACOT, Slate, and a few blogs) has said a word about her mis (if not mal) feasance to this day, more than two years later. Dan Rather made an honest mistake and promptly admitted it on air and was the subject of enormous amounts of print and broadcast abuse and fascist (gut the First Amendment) calls for both a Congressional investigation and an FBI investigation (neither of which look like they will occur).



  • Wonder why you don't see Farenheit 911 ads during the national news? Nikki Finke explains why in the LA Weekly.
  • The New York Times costs $1 per day. First class round trip Los Angeles to Paris is about $10,000. The captions on these pictures, priceless.
  • Dan Grobstein and Craig Reynolds report that President Eisenhower's son John is voting for John Kerry.
  • From the sublime to the silly: Fast Once A Month For George Bush.
  • Frank Rich's well-reasoned attack on a pro-Bush documentary in the New York Times.
  • Dan Grobstein and three others sent me the link to an email from a Wall Street Reporter in Baghdad. If you read nothing else about the war this week, read this harrowing, first-hand account of the situation on the ground--then ask yourself which universe the "president" inhabits, and whether it has any intersection with the world the rest of us--and the people of Iraq--live in.


According to U of Michigan Prof. Juan Cole, George W. Bush originally planned to advocate giving control of Iraq to convicted felon Ahmed Chalabi by about October, 2003. This is the same Chalabi who was supported by faithless fiduciary Richard Perle. The same Chalabi who reportedly destroyed U.S. ability to gain information on Iranian nuclear weapons efforts by revealing highly classified U.S. communications intelligence to the Iranians. Faithless fiduciary Perle gave the information to Chalabi. The information apparently came to Chalabi from traitorous neoconservatives working for Don Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.


It seems likely that policies advocated by George W. Bush will put Saddam Hussein back in power in Iraq. Perhaps realizing the problem, the alleged ex-CIA agent currently ruling Iraq wanted to put Hussein on trial in a kangaroo court in October 2004. U.S. insistence on due process appears to have delayed any trial for Saddam until the middle of 2005 at the earliest. Iraqi elections are scheduled for January 2005. The elections are for parliament meaning a candidate only needs support from one district to win a seat in parliament. An election for a president if the yet to be written Iraqi constitution provides for one will have to be held later. On a national basis, a recent Gallup poll allegedly indicates that 42% of Iraqis want Saddam back in control of the entire country. In the democracy advocated by George Bush, 42% would probably be enough to win a plurality in any direct election race for president of Iraq. Hussein has not been convicted of any recent crimes and there appears to be no Iraqi law preventing him from running for office. Most of this is based on Al Kamen's fine work in The Washington Post.

It seems a different question should have been asked by Jim Lehrer instead of asking the pathologically mendacious Bush about Kerry's character.

"How many American soldiers and coalition soldiers are you and the coalition partners willing to see die, how many innocent Iraqi civilians are you willing to see die, and how many dollars are you willing to spend in order to hold the elections which will restore Saddam Hussein to power in a stable, federal, free and democratic Iraq?

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

E-vote news: Diebold continues to sink into the muck bending and breaking laws as they see fit. They have their own revolving door: Diebold Rep Now Runs Elections and a California district court found Diebold liable for violating section 512(f) of the DMCA for falsely claiming its copyright had been violated: EFF Wins in Diebold Copyright Abuse Case. Last week the ACM (my professional organization) came out against paperless e-voting systems. Advices from abroad: Global lessons in e-voting.

IE aye yi yi: CNET runs a whole section called Internet Explorer--headed for extinction?, Reuters says Savvy Web Surfers Catch New Wave of Browsers, and if that wasn't bad enough, Gillmor explains how it may cost your $199 to safely run your "free" copy of IE.

This or that on IP: VoIP yesterday's exotic technology is today's vector for spam: Move over spam, make way for "spit". New kid on the block is "TV over IP" delivering sitcoms to your cel phone: Next-Generation TV Streams Over Phone Lines.

Patents: the NYT asks Does the Patent System Need an Overhaul? as outlined in the new book from Princeton Press: Innovation and Its Discontents: How Our Broken Patent System is Endangering Innovation and Progress, and What to Do About It. Despite the patent-related FUD Munich still plans to switch from Windows to Linux

Technobits: U.S. cybersecurity chief resigns --- Microsoft server crash nearly causes 800-plane pile-up --- INDUCE Act opponents barred from Senate meeting --- Dogs sniff out bladder cancer --- Xbox Modchip --- Escher for Real --- Gillmor on the online, learning neural network version of "twenty questions".

Richard Dalton notes:

From CBS MarketWatch:
Microsoft's Gates says computing 'falls short' (MSFT)
By Tom Bemis
BERKELEY, Calif. (CBS.MW) -- Microsoft's Bill Gates said computing problems to be figured out in the next two decades will be more exciting than those already solved. The chairman of Microsoft (MSFT) ,the world's largest software company, specifically pointed to expected
innovations in computing reliability and ease of use. "Computing today still falls short of what it should be," Gates said during a speech Friday at the University of California at Berkeley.

He added (and I agree), "I am pretty sure that's the same speech Bill gave at an early COMDEX show about 20 years ago."


Blonde Joke--Male

An Irishman, a Mexican and a Blonde Guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building.

They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, "Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building."

The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, "Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off, too."

The blond opened his lunch and said, Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too."

The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage, and jumped to his death.

The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito, and jumped, too.

The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.

At the funeral, the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, "If I'd known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him again!"

The Mexican's wife also wept and said, "I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much."

Everyone turned and stared at the blonde's wife.

The blonde's wife said, "Don't look at me. He made his own lunch."


Napoleon Dynamite

Weirdest film ever made. At least, the weirdest one I've ever seen, and I saw Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues when it came out back in 1972. Doesn't go anywhere, doesn't do anything, makes no point, and is excruciating to watch. Kind of like torture. Jared Hess, the writer/director is either a genius or an idiot. Maybe both. I have no idea where the good reviews for this film came from.


Humor by Wolfe, Dan Grobstein File

New humor by Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe. Here's an excerpt from I Could Have Sworn I Parked It Right Here:

Senior citizens seem to be having a problem: They can't find their cars in the crowded parking lots at shopping centers. I'm standing in front of Bed, Bath & Beyond trying to remember where I parked my red Honda. I thought I had parked it in front of Sears. I noticed several other people experiencing a "senior moment" and they weren't coming down with Alzheimer's.

I approached one of the women and she said, "Don't make a Gantseh Megillah (Yiddish for "a big deal") out of it. The first person who locates their car can drive the other two people around the parking lot in search of their car." We agreed.

Dan Grobstein File

Dan found this on a blog:

He's Simple

One of my readers, who works at the UN, noticed something unique about George W. Bush's speech last week.

Evidently, the official UN transcript is the exact speech that Bush read off the teleprompter. My reader says that nobody who works there can ever remember a leader having to have words phonetically spelled out before, as it is here (pdf):

In the last year alone, terrorists have attacked police stations, and banks, and commuter trains, and synagogues ... and a school filled with children. This month in Beslan [bez-LAN] we saw, once again, how the terrorists measure their success in the death of the innocent, and in the pain of grieving families. Svetlana Dzebisov [day-BEES-off] was held hostage along with her son and her nephew and her nephew did not survive.

This is the best the so-called greatest nation on earth can do?

He also found this at

"How many times have you been arrested, Mr. President?" $2408.00 Bounty to the first person to ask George W. Bush this question in a public forum. Up to $6000.00 MORE if the question is televised and answered!

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