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Friday -- Oops! -- Saturday Five

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:46 AM

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now? That's a tough one. Right now, I guess I'd have to say Steven Curtis Chapman. However, that fluctuates with my mood. My favorite is always one of these four: Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Twila Paris, or Sixpence None the Richer/Leigh Nash.

3. What's your favorite song? Well, probably God is God by Steven Curtis Chapman. If you haven't heard that song, it is really worth getting Declaration, just for it. In short, it is SCC's reaction to the story told in Through the Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot. Very powerful and moving — especially when accompanied by the music video.
And the pain falls like a curtain On things I once called certain
And I have to say the words I fear the most
I just don't know And the questions without answer
Come and paralyze the dancer
So I stand here on the stage afraid to move
Afraid to fall
Oh, but fall I must,
On this truth that my life had been formed from the dust

God is God and I am not
I can only see a part
Of the picture He is painting
God is God and I am man
So I'll never understand it all
For only God is God

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be? Not being musically inclined, any instrument would make me happy. :-) Seriously, probably the keyboard/piano. The electronic keyboard can pretty much sound like whatever you want, and the piano is just classy. Best of all, you get it all as a 2 for 1 value… call now! Otherwise, I'd shoot for the acoustical guitar.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why? Well, being a short sighted fellow, I'd probably want to meet Steven Curtis Chapman. He seems to be a really interesting person and I should think it would be nice to get to know him. If I'm willing to detach myself from my particular favorite music, I'd probably go for Handel or Mozart.

Take a look at my full music picks and playlist, here

Serious Information

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:30 AM

It seems that there was a very serious meeting called by Saddam's top doctor today. According to a communique, it went something like this:

Saddam's doctor called a meeting of all the Saddam's doubles. “Men, I've got some good news and I've got some bad news. The good news is Saddam is still alive. The bad news is… He's lost an arm.”

Now you can go ahead and give a collective groan to that. On another serious note, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information, now has his own “fan site.” I particularly suggest you take a look at the page entitled M.S.S. Throughout History, which contains key intellegence information of even higher quality than the communique I mention above.

Mr. Hatch: Stop it!

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:47 AM

Hatch, in response to the threat that the Dems might add some stuff to a current anti-terrorism bill, is considering adding an amendment to that anti-terrorism legislation that would eliminate the sunset clause in the USA PATRIOT ACT (according to the New York Times). This will be disastrous if approved. It is a rare moment when you'll find one of my positions that more of the left agrees with than the right, but when that's the case, it shows how serious I really am.

The PATRIOT Act, is, in my opinion, one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed. It has the potential to make McCarthy look like the nicest guy in the world. The PATRIOT Act's modifications to FISA, privacy laws, and so forth, are at best, a violation of the constitution. Worse, the changes allow the DOJ to do as it pleases without anyone to report to. The department has no responsibility to let Congress or others know what it is doing with its enhanced powers — thus there is no check to avoid corruption. Remember: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Now, you are probably saying, but good 'ol John is running the DOJ right now, no worries! Well, I like Attorney General Ashcroft too, but he isn't going to be in there forever. Consider this: would any supporters of the PATRIOT Act support it if Janet Reno was going to be the one given the power? I doubt it. Scary image, isn't it? But, beyond that, even Ashcroft could abuse the power — no one, not even someone from the party I support, should be given such unilateral and secretive power.

As a conservative, it appalls me that my side of the aisle is supporting legislation that will increase the reach and power of the federal government. I support what my president said during the 2000 election, “I trust people, not government.” I want smaller Federal government, and smaller government in general.

Quite frankly, the problem with stopping terrorism is not the laws the PATRIOT Act seeks to push out of the way, it is the utter and unacceptable incompetence of the FBI. I'll talk more about that in a few weeks, and I'm not saying the FBI isn't being worked on, I'm just saying we aren't going the right direction in trying to improve our intelligence.

PLEASE, if you support the freedoms and due process guaranteed by the constitution; if you support the ability to checkout books at the library without it going on a secret government record; if you support privacy in e-mail and other electronic communications, contact your representative and senator and let them know that no matter what side of the aisle you are on the PATRIOT ACT is something that really should sunset.[/RANT MODE]


Media and the War: Who's Fair, Who Reports What We Want?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:56 AM

Now, I'm not saying I spent countless hours scribbling notes or anything like that, but I was interested in seeing media bias in the war and if, as one friend put it a short time ago, CNN really stands for the “Communist News Network.” First, save Fox News' Geraldo Rivera and NBC's Peter Arnett, I think the media deserves a round of applause for war coverage. Overall, I haven't seen anything that screams “unfair” from any network (I do wonder how the press come up with the stupid questions they ask at press conferences and the “almost ads” for the upcoming “shock and awe” were annoying, but, I degress…). Good job, guys!

After reading a piece like this, I must say I wonder whether other conservatives are watching a different CNN than I am, however. Now, I should say, I'm not normally an avid TV news (or TV) watcher, so this is based mostly on war coverage, but I just haven't seen anything that bad and certainly not anything completely left wing biased.

Just as I write this, there was a fellow named Michael Medved on CNN seemingly defending the president (I'm only half listening). I looked at his web site, and guess what, he has been a guest host behind the golden EIB microphone when Rush Limbaugh is away! Yeah, that's right, a dittohead was being interviewed by Aaron Brown on primetime CNN. Not bad, I say.

In fact, I've found that while maybe most of the interviewed people weren't head-over-heals in support of the war, most of the people behind the anchor desk seem to be pro-war or at least pro-troops-and-government. Mr. Brown, for example, almost got into a verbal brawl on CNN with an Al-Jazeera correspondent after the said network aired the video showing the bodies of the Americans a few weeks ago.

Brown, who seems to be a thoughtful kind of anchor, has also spent most of the last three weeks opposite former NATO Supreme Commander and American Gen. Wesley Clark, who seems to support the Pentagon on virtually everything that has happened thus far. While Brown has maintained some sense of a journalist's goal for asking pointed questions to both those he agrees and disagrees with, I've yet to seem him seem to attack much that has happened.

The afternoon/evening anchor for the coverage, Wolf Blitzer (who normally has 4 p.m. CT show), also has been seemingly pro-war from what I've seen. I believe it was actually Blitzer who today referred to Iraq's minister of information as the “minister of disinformation.” Hehehe. Good one, Wolf. I hardly think that comes from an Iraqi sympathizer.

Then, there is Larry King. King, of course, is the anchor of the network's flagship program, and thus ought to say something about the network's position. During the war, he has almost always had several pro-war people on each night. For example, Kuwait's ambassador to the United States has appeared numerous times, as have many many generals. King's nightly guest for the war, Colonel David “Hack” Hackworth has also proved a supporter of the action, making many statements suggesting it would be a simple and very good military campaign that will be effective (in much more brash terms, such as “wham, bam, bomb say-dam”). In fact, Hack's almost “glee” at the campaign caused some callers to call in and complain that he wasn't taking the war seriously enough (the colonel chalks it up to his Irish heritage).

King also did something really interesting before the war: he did an entire show on Evangelical Christian and Christian opinion of the plan! He brought on three conservative Christians (Max Lucado, Dr. Bob Jones, and a head of a seminary) and then placed two liberal Christians opposite them. In other words, not only was King interested in Christian opinion, by default, he gave the Evangelical side an edge simply by the fact that almost each interviewee got equal time.

Now, the article I linked to earlier accuses CNN of focusing too much on the few countries in Europe that do not support us. I'd imagine than means France and Germany. That's for good reason: many (most?) Americans actually care what our historic allies think. It really isn't nearly as interesting if Liechtenstein decides to support us as it is if France is complaining about our actions. I may be off-base, but I think it does matter that our allies don't agree with us — I'm not saying we should change our path, but I don't think hurling insults at them is the key to unbiased coverage either.

Fox News, supposedly, is suppose to be the place where “they report and you decide.” When I got the opportunity to get cable, I was quite anxious to see this great news source. I haven't watched it all that much, but a few hours of Fox gave me a very bad taste. For example, the fellow that was reporting on Friday (IIRC) reported that Saddam International Airport was 100% under American control. CNN reported that there was still fighting going on… and surprise, surprise, the next morning some fighting was still going on. Admittedly, CNN wasn't giving as much of a “pro-war” stance, but isn't the truth better than showing a certain stance? The Fox News anchor, looking for another pro-campaign comment while talking with an embed later that evening tried to suggest that Iraqi civilians with their hands up and a white flag (while crossing a bridge) didn't just have their hands up in surrender, but because they were celebrating the arrival of Americans! This was so clearly incorrect that the embed actually disagreed with the anchor!

Bernard Goldberg, in his book Bias, says almost the same thing. He has become known for his bold attack on the liberal media. But, as an “old fashioned liberal,” Goldberg notes that doesn't mean he wants a conservatively biased news source, like many who rail against the media wouldn't mind. He wants unbiased news. News reporters should greet both sides with skepticism, not just the side we don't like.

And in that way, I think CNN has done a good job. Watching CNN, I have gotten the impression that most Americans support the war (true), that there are good reasons to do it (true), that there have been some problems (true), and that there is a very vocal minority against it (true). And, for those who think the name minority gives the people committing civil disobedience too much credit, guess what Aaron Brown just referred to them as? “The fringe [of America].”

So, good job CNN. Thanks for doing a very decent job.

[Note: I don't mean this rant/editorial to offend anyone on my side of the aisle who thinks I may be a modern day Benedict Arnold of conservatives, I had originally planned to write it in a less antagonistic fashion, but it just came out this way. I should also note that I do have a bone to pick with Fox News because they have recently threatened legal action against an Evangelical Christian (and ex-gay) who runs a group aimed at helping people escape homosexuality because the said Christian made a tape of the harsh attacks Bill O'Reilly fired toward him in an interview, but to the best of my ability, I did not hold that against Fox News in my consideration of it here.]

Hail, Hail, The Plants Were Here...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:06 AM

What a mess! The second storm pulverized the flowering trees breaking off branches and leaving dozens of just opening dogwood flowers on the ground under the piles of ice. The Zuni Crabapple was also hit hard with hundreds of little pink buds lacing the sidewalk… what a shame, it would have been a spectacular showing on that tree this year.

Trees were not the only thing left damaged either. The guttering on my western wall has a new indentation going in about an inch from its original (flat) position and the neighbor's dingyless van is dingyless no more (my neighbor, who works at Ford, had just repaired the van from last year's hail damage). Fun.

Anyway, the oddest thing of all was how it came and went. During the whole ordeal, the sky was partially blue and we only got a short spell of rain right before the first batch of hail, so it was a rather interesting weather pattern to say the least. The Zuni still has some buds, so I'm hoping an encore presentation doesn't do those in too.

I wonder if anyone else in the region got hit by this storm?

Uhhhh, so that's the choice?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:50 AM

This just in from the folks at National Public Radio: Saddam is either alive or… in hiding! Yes, that's right. Apparently, if you are hiding, you are not alive. You heard it first on NPR and Maybe this explains why we have so many embedded reporters — if our troops appeared to be hiding, we would know they weren't alive, right?

Now, remember folks: if you are ever thinking about hiding — don't! If you do, you won't be alive any more.

I'm sorry, Mr. Butler.

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:04 PM

He was especially upset not only about my blogging activities, but also my posting as him on other blogs, such as What in Tarnation!?!?!? and sakamuyo 2.0. I'm sorry Mr. Butler, I never meant any harm at all.

In fact, I had started this blog when I'd gotten ahold of a copy of the code from Butler's friend Ciaran. I planned to keep it private (just a fun testbed of blogging technology), but couldn't resist including it in my information when I posted on some other sites. Now Mr. Butler has asked me to give up the blog AND give him as payment for the damages against him (he also said he's getting a new web maintainer, so if anyone is looking to hire, please let me know).

Whatever the case, this is the end of the line for me. It's been nice knowing y'all, I'm sorry it was all really a hoax all along.


Busy, Busy, Busy

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:34 PM

In a way, my starting this project last week was a real blessing. I had been meaning o make SAFARI (Standardized Automated File Archiving and Retrieval Interface) more useful for some time for non-issue based content (that is stuff that isn't published in monthly, weekly, or other types of “issues”), and last week I decided to take that on as a fun project.

Right now, I'm running my variant of Ciaran's very cool blogging software which is an amazingly light piece of code (only a handful of kbytes for the whole thing!). It is great, but I realized some of the stuff I wanted to implement for it already existed in SAFARI (stuff like the ability to edit posts, delete them, etc.). Further, I wanted to replace the holey mess known as PHP-Nuke on Open for Business. I knew it had problems for the las [Rest of the post disappeared for some reason. See my comment below for the text of what it said.] Now Publically Traded!

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:50 PM
Listed on BlogShares
Yes, that's right, now you can buy on the BlogShares Exchange (thanks to Christopher)! Right now, is on the BlogShares 500 less than a day after its IPO. :-) If you're looking for a secure investment for your blogging dollars, why not invest in a reliable stock like asisaid? Today BlogShares, tomorrow NYSE!

I'm an Island!

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:26 AM

Japan - Viewed as the technological powerhouse of the 21st
Century, it has lived a reletively solemn and
singular history.

Technologically Advanced.
Economic Superpower.
Healthy Populace.

Isolated and Sometimes Ignored.
Unlucky with Disasters.

Which Country of the World are You?
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